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Sample heating for DART-MS

16 March 2021 | Product
by Ian Michael

Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS) is a proven technique that enables rapid analysis of both solid and liquid samples under standard laboratory conditions without sample preparation. However, certain polymers, cosmetic powders and forensic materials are difficult to analyse using DART-MS due to the varying volatility of substituents in these complex samples.

To overcome these challenges, BioChromato has developed an innovative sample introduction device (ionRocket), which gradually heats a sample placed directly beneath the DART-MS gas stream. Gradient heating of the sample before ionisation creates time/temperature resolved mass spectra, separating species both by their thermal desorption profiles and m/z. ionRocket generates a temperature gradient from ambient up to as high as 600 °C in just a few minutes. This allows compounds in your samples to be sublimated, vaporised or pyrolysed according to their volatility, and then introduced into the DART-MS gas stream. Because the ionRocket offers the option to weigh samples prior to analysis this results in reproducible MS intensity, allowing calibration curves of analyte amount versus peak intensity to be calculated.

Data obtained from ionRocket yields another axis of data (time/temperature) beyond that obtained from normal DART-MS analysis. Species desorb in order of their volatility along the temperature gradient, and therefore are separated in time. The data produced resembles that of an LC-MS or GC-MS chromatogram, consisting of temperature/time, m/z and intensity. This can separate rare from abundant species, making them easier to detect.