Evaluation of electrode geometries for portable trapped ion mobility spectrometry

Project Abstract

Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) allows for rapid separation of ions in the gas phase by their size to charge ratio through collisions with a buffer gas. Portable devices utilizing this separation method have applicability in detection of explosives, drugs, and chemical warfare agents. Due to size constraints, portable designs suffer from low resolution, increased false positives, and decreased detection limits compared to traditional laboratory instrumentation. In an effort to improve portable IMS, recent advances in high resolution IMS methods have been considered. One method of note, trapped ion mobility spectrometry (TIMS), achieves high resolution without increasing the drift region length, opting to trap the ions during separation rather than lengthening the ion mobility cell. Unfortunately, traditional TIMS architecture is not amenable to portable device design. To improve impedance and reduce size and mass to develop a portable TIMS, electrode geometries made from printed circuit boards (PCB) are designed. Using SIMION software, these designs are tested to compare their performance to traditional TIMS electrode geometries. Gas flow and pressure conditions necessary for TIMS are evaluated using computational fluid dynamics. The PCB electrodes provide lower mass and lower impedance for portable devices while maintaining traditional TIMS performance. Additionally, appropriate gas flows and pressure conditions for TIMS are preserved. These investigations demonstrate lightweight PCB electrode geometries allow high resolution portable IMS to be achieved with a TIMS separation method.


Conference Name (full, no abbreviations): American Chemical Society Spring 2024

Dates: March 17-21, 2024

Sponsoring Body: American Chemical Society

Conference Website: https://www.acs.org/meetings/acs-meetings/spring.html

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology


Chemistry(area)/Minor Mathematics






Caleb Morris, PhD.

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

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