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      What can we learn from ambient ionization techniques?

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      Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

      Elsevier BV

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          Versatile new ion source for the analysis of materials in open air under ambient conditions.

          A new ion source has been developed for rapid, noncontact analysis of materials at ambient pressure and at ground potential. The new source, termed DART (for "Direct Analysis in Real Time"), is based on the reactions of electronic or vibronic excited-state species with reagent molecules and polar or nonpolar analytes. DART has been installed on a high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS) that provides improved selectivity and accurate elemental composition assignment through exact mass measurements. Although DART has been applied to the analysis of gases, liquids, and solids, a unique application is the direct detection of chemicals on surfaces without requiring sample preparation, such as wiping or solvent extraction. DART has demonstrated success in sampling hundreds of chemicals, including chemical agents and their signatures, pharmaceutics, metabolites, peptides and oligosaccharides, synthetic organics, organometallics, drugs of abuse, explosives, and toxic industrial chemicals. These species were detected on various surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt, human skin, currency, airline boarding passes, business cards, fruits, vegetables, spices, beverages, body fluids, horticultural leaves, cocktail glasses, and clothing. DART employs no radioactive components and is more versatile than devices using radioisotope-based ionization. Because its response is instantaneous, DART provides real-time information, a critical requirement for screening or high throughput.
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            Detection Technologies. Ambient mass spectrometry.

            A recent innovation in mass spectrometry is the ability to record mass spectra on ordinary samples, in their native environment, without sample preparation or preseparation by creating ions outside the instrument. In desorption electrospray ionization (DESI), the principal method described here, electrically charged droplets are directed at the ambient object of interest; they release ions from the surface, which are then vacuumed through the air into a conventional mass spectrometer. Extremely rapid analysis is coupled with high sensitivity and high chemical specificity. These characteristics are advantageously applied to high-throughput metabolomics, explosives detection, natural products discovery, and biological tissue imaging, among other applications. Future possible uses of DESI for in vivo clinical analysis and its adaptation to portable mass spectrometers are described.
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              Plasma needle: a non-destructive atmospheric plasma source for fine surface treatment of (bio)materials

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
                J Am Soc Mass Spectrom
                Elsevier BV
                1044-0305
                1879-1123
                November 2009
                November 2009
                : 20
                : 11
                : 1947-1963
                Article
                10.1016/j.jasms.2009.07.025
                19748284
                © 2009
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