AbstractA small German company with long years of experience in customising spectrometers especially for research applications has developed a concept for a new mass spectrometer with a nearly tenfold increase of the performance-to-price ratio. To distribute the system on the market the company seeks industrial partners experienced in vacuum technology and / or measurement systems.
DetailsMass spectrometry is an analytical technique for the determination of the isotopic and/or elemental composition of materials. The principle consists of ionizing chemical compounds to generate charged particles and to measure their mass-to-charge ratios. High-end mass spectrometers are often able to measure simultaneously ions of different masses with a large mass range and with high mass resolution. Typically their physical dimensions are within the range of several meters, they require very elaborate manufacturing and their costs are in the range of some hundred thousand Euros.
Cheaper spectrometers for industrial use are designed for applications with generally moderate requirements concerning mass-range and -resolution. This results in lower prices (several ten thousand Euros). Quadrupole mass spectrometers are the most common instruments in this category.
The German company has developed a concept to reduce the size of a high-end Mattauch-Herzog type mass spectrometer a by a factor of 10 while maintaining the advantages of this high-end instrument. Major technical aspects are the use of micro machinery and high-tech-materials not yet applied in mass spectrometers. Furthermore sophisticated mathematical simulation methods for the design of the ion-optics and the electrical and mechanical layout are applied.
As a result the performance of cheaper mass spectrometers can be significantly improved. Especially mass spectrometers of the Quadrupole type can be replaced by these new instruments. Thus new application areas may be addressed.
Compared to Quadrupole mass spectrometers, the new ultra compact instrument offers the following innovations and advantages:
- the sensitivity can be remarkably increased (due to the energy of ions of up to 1000 eV) and is stable independent of the ion masses to be analysed,
- the measurement error can be reduced by a factor of 10,
- the resolution can be increased by a factor of 5 (up to 1500),
- simultaneous measurements of different masses are possible,
- multiple electric charged particles are automatically eliminated and do not interfere the measurements.
Due to the new design concept these performance data of high-end mass spectrometers can be achieved at costs comparable to existing cheaper instruments like a Quadrupole spectrometer.