Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is based on determining the drift velocities, which the ionized sample molecules attain in the weak electric field of a drift tube at atmospheric pressure. The drift behavior can be affected by structural differences of the analytes, so that ion mobility spectrometry has the ability to separated isomeric compounds. In the present article, an introduction to IMS is given, followed by a description of the instrument used for the experiments to differentiate isomeric compounds. Positive ion mobility spectras of three kinds of isomeric volatile organic compounds were studied in a homemade high-resolution IMS apparatus with a discharge ionization source. The study includes the differences in the structure of carbon chain, the style of function group, and the position of function group. The reduced mobility values were determined, which are in very good agreement with the previously reported theoretical values using neural network theory. The influence of the structural features of the substances and including the size and shape of the molecule has been investigated. The reduced mobility values increases in the order: alcohols < acetones < aromas, linears < branches < cycles, and para- < meta- < ortho-. The deviating ion mobility spectra of the constitutional isomers studied reflect the influence of structural features. In order to calibrate or determine the detection limits and the sensitivity of the ion mobility spectrometry, the exponential dilution flask (EDF) was used. Using this method, the detection limit of the analytes can reach the order of magnitude of ng x L(-1).
Guang pu xue yu guang pu fen xi = Guang pu 10/2007; 27(10):1925-8. · 0.27 Impact Factor