A two-phase approach to fourier transform ion mobility time-of-flight mass spectrometry†
It is well known that the duty cycle of common drift-tube ion mobility experiments is often below 1%. However, multiplexing approaches such as Fourier and Hadamard pulsing schemes have been shown to independently enhance the throughput of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) experiments to levels that approach 50%. While challenges remain to their broad scale implementation we describe a new Fourier transform (FT) IMS experiment that is directly compatible with standard drift tube ion mobility mass spectrometers (DT-IMMS). Compared to previous FT-IMS experiments, our new approach requires only a single gate and circumvents the need for signal apodization by combining data from two frequency pulsing sequences 180° out of phase. Assessment of our initial results highlights an increase in signal-to-noise (SNR) relative to both previous implementations FT-IMS experiments and signal averaged (SA) experiments. For select tetraalkylammonium salts SNR improvements of more than one order of magnitude are routinely possible. To explore the performance metrics associated with the technique a number of experimental variables were systematically altered including frequency sweep range, sweep time, and data acquisition time. Using this experimental design we present the key aspects, considerations, and minimum resources necessary for other IMS researchers to incorporate this operational mode into their research. The two-phase FT-IMMS technique offers a tractable mechanism to enhance sensitivity for IMMS measurements and its broad-scale adoption by IMMS researchers promises to enhance the acquisition speed for mobility measurements using hybrid instrumentation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry