AIP Digital Archive
Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
Gas phase ion mobility measurements can resolve structural isomers for polyatomic ions and provide information about their geometries. A new experimental apparatus for performing high-resolution ion mobility measurements is described. The apparatus consists of a pulsed laser vaporization/desorption source coupled through an ion gate to a 63-cm-long drift tube. The ion gate is a critical component that prevents the diffusion of neutral species from the source into the drift tube. Ions travel along the drift tube under the influence of a uniform electric field. At the end of the drift tube some of the ions exit through a small aperture. They are focused into a quadrupole mass spectrometer, where they are mass analyzed, and then detected by an off-axis collision dynode and by dual microchannel plates. The apparatus is operated with a drift voltage of up to 14 000 V and a helium buffer gas pressure of around 500 Torr. The resolving power for ion mobility measurements is over an order of magnitude higher than has been achieved using conventional injected-ion drift tube techniques. Examples of the application of the new apparatus in resolving isomers of laser desorbed metallofullerenes, in studying silicon clusters generated by laser vaporization, and in following the isomerization of small nanocrystalline (NaCl)nCl− clusters as a function of temperature, are presented. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.
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