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Issue 1, 2008
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“Imaging” combustion chemistry via multiplexed synchrotron-photoionization mass spectrometry

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The combination of multiplexed mass spectrometry with photoionization by tunable-synchrotron radiation has proved to be a powerful tool to investigate elementary reaction kinetics and the chemistry of low-pressure flames. In both of these applications, multiple-mass detection and the ease of tunability of synchrotron radiation make it possible to acquire full sets of data as a function of mass, photon energy, and of the physical dimension of the system, e.g. distance from the burner or time after reaction initiation. The data are in essence an indirect image of the chemistry. The data can be quantitatively correlated and integrated along any of several dimensions to compare to traditional measurements such as time or distance profiles of individual chemical species, but it can also be directly interpreted in image form. This perspective offers an overview of flame chemistry and chemical kinetics measurements that combine tunable photoionization with multiple-mass detection, emphasizing the overall insight that can be gained from multidimensional data on these systems. The low-pressure flame apparatus is capable of providing isomer-resolved mass spectra of stable and radical species as a function of position in the flame. The overall chemical structure of the flames can be readily seen from images of the evolving mass spectrum as distance from the burner increases, with isomer-specific information given in images of the photoionization efficiency. Several flames are compared in this manner, with a focus on identification of global differences in fuel-decomposition and soot-formation pathways. Differences in the chemistry of flames of isomeric fuels can be discerned. The application of multiplexed synchrotron photoionization to elementary reaction kinetics permits identification of time-resolved isomeric composition in reacting systems. The power of this technique is illustrated by the separation of direct and dissociative ionization signals in the reaction of C2H5 with O2; by the resolution of isomeric products in reactions of the ethynyl (C2H) radical; and by preliminary observation of branching to methyl + propargyl products in the self-reaction of vinyl radicals. Finally, prospects for future research using multiplexed photoionization mass spectrometry are explored.

Graphical abstract: “Imaging” combustion chemistry via multiplexed synchrotron-photoionization mass spectrometry

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Sep 2007, accepted on 17 Oct 2007 and first published on 06 Nov 2007

Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/B713460F
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2008,10, 20-34
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    “Imaging” combustion chemistry via multiplexed synchrotron-photoionization mass spectrometry

    C. A. Taatjes, N. Hansen, D. L. Osborn, K. Kohse-Höinghaus, T. A. Cool and P. R. Westmoreland, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2008, 10, 20
    DOI: 10.1039/B713460F

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