A radiofrequency glow-discharge-time-of-flight mass spectrometer for direct analysis of glasses.

Research paper by Jorge J Pisonero, José Manuel JM Costa, Rosario R Pereiro, Nerea N Bordel, Alfredo A Sanz-Medel

Indexed on: 09 Jun '04Published on: 09 Jun '04Published in: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry


A radiofrequency (rf) glow-discharge (GD) ion source coupled to a commercial on-axis time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS) has been developed for the direct analysis of non-conducting samples. Different instrumental configurations of the rf-GD source, including the optional use of a sampler cone and the possibility of allowing electrical floating of the discharge, were evaluated first with a conducting sample. Higher ion signals were obtained when the GD was electrically floating and no sampler cone was used. A homogeneous glass was then analyzed using two different rf-GD configurations--with a sampler cone and discarding the use of the sampler cone. The atomic mass spectra obtained with the TOFMS using both configurations were compared. Analyte signals were systematically higher for the latest mode which avoids the sampler cone. The analytical capability of the proposed rf-GD-TOFMS system for the analysis of thick glasses, up to 6 mm, has been investigated in terms of sensitivity, isotopic ratio accuracy, and mass-resolving power. Different homogeneous glasses (including glasses as thick as 6 mm) have been analyzed and major and minor elements were detected. Isotope ratio accuracies of about +/-1% and mass resolving powers of about 700 were observed.