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Portable combination of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and differential mobility spectrometry for advanced vapor phase analysis


Designing mobile devices for the analysis of complex sample mixtures containing a variety of analytes at different concentrations across a large dynamic range remains a challenging task in many analytical scenarios. To meet this challenge, a compact hybrid analytical platform has been developed combining Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy based on substrate-integrated hollow waveguides (iHWG-FTIR) with gas chromatography coupled differential mobility spectrometry (GC-DMS). Due to the complementarity of these techniques regarding analyte type and concentration, their combination provides a promising tool for the detection of complex samples containing a broad range of molecules at different concentrations. To date, the combination of infrared spectroscopy and ion mobility techniques remains expensive and bound to a laboratory utilizing e.g. IMS as prefilter or IR as ionization source. In the present study, a cost-efficient and portable solution has been developed and characterized representing the first truly hyphenated IR-DMS system. As a model analyte mixture, 5 ppm isopropylmercaptan (IPM) in methane (CH4) were diluted, and the concentration-dependent DMS signal of IPM along with the concentration-dependent IR signal of CH4 were recorded for all three hybrid IR-DMS systems. While guiding the sample through the iHWG-FTIR or the GC-DMS first did not affect the obtained signals, optimizing the IR data acquisition parameters did benefit the analytical results.

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