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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Mar 2019

Research article | 21 Mar 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Addition of a fast GC to SIFT-MS for analyses of individual monoterpenes in mixtures

Michal Lacko1,2, Nijing Wang3, Kristýna Sovová1, Pavel Pásztor1, and Patrik Španěl1 Michal Lacko et al.
  • 1The Czech Academy of Science, J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry, Dolejškova 2155/3, 182 23 Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, Ke Karlovu 3, 121 16 Prague, Czech Republic
  • 3Air Chemistry Department, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Abstract. Soft chemical ionization mass spectrometry (SCI-MS) techniques can be used to accurately quantify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air in real time; however, differentiation of isomers still represents a challenge. A suitable pre-separation technique is thus needed, ideally capable of analyses in a few tens of seconds. To this end, a bespoke fast GC with an electrically heated 5 m long metallic capillary column was coupled to a selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) instrument. To assess the performance of this combination a case study of monoterpene isomer (C10H16) analyses was carried out. The monoterpenes were quantified by SIFT-MS using H3O+ reagent ions (analyte ions C10H17+, m/z 137, and C6H9+, m/z 81) and NO+ reagent ions (analyte ions C10H16+, m/z 136, and C7H9+, m/z 93). The combinations of the fragment ion relative intensities obtained using H3O+ and NO+ were shown to be characteristic of the individual monoterpenes. Two non-polar GC columns (Restek Inc.) were tested: the advantage of MXT-1 was shorter retention times whilst the advantage of MXT-Volatiles was better temporal separation. Thus, it is possible to quantify components of a monoterpene mixture in less than 45 s by the MXT-1 column and to separate them in less 180 s by the MXT-Volatiles column. As an illustrative example, the headspace of three conifer needle samples was analysed by both reagent ions with both columns showing that mainly α-pinene, β-pinene and 3-carene were present.

Michal Lacko et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Michal Lacko et al.
Michal Lacko et al.
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Short summary
The soft chemical ionization analytical technique of selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry, SIFT-MS, was enhanced by fast GC pre-separation unit to quantify individual isomers. Experiments were carried out with two GC columns MXT-1 and MXT-Volatiles using two reagent ions H3O+ and NO+ on monoterpene samples (an artificial mixture and coniferous needles). Analyses of product ion ratios allowed quantification of multiple monoterpenes in partially separated chromatograms.
The soft chemical ionization analytical technique of selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry,...