The Road to HPLC2018 Part III: Catching the Next Wave in IMS
Technological advances are putting IMS at the forefront of separation science – so it’s a guaranteed hot topic for HPLC2018.
Richard Smith |
Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) originated more than a century ago and, to date, has been mainly used for chemical weapon agent detection and airport passenger screening. Though the field has been developing steadily over the years, IMS is only now transitioning to the top tier of analytical separation methods.
In IMS, ions collide with a buffer gas and separate due to their different shape-dependent velocities in an electric field. In high vacuum, without collisions with gas molecules, the result would be a separation based upon the ion’s mass and charge – in other words, mass spectrometry (MS). On the other hand, if the IMS separation were to occur in a liquid (and in the presence of oppositely charged ions) it would be electrophoresis. Since ions attain much higher velocities in gases than in liquids, IMS separations occur much faster than liquid-based separations, with some forms achieving useful separations in milliseconds for compounds that might take minutes to an hour to effectively separate by HPLC.
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