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Open Access Single Particle Laser Ablation Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer: An Introduction to SPLAT

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We present our single particle mass spectrometer we call SPLAT. SPLAT was designed to make possible the detection and characterization of particles down to 100 nm, generate reproducible single particle mass spectra, and collect data at a high rate. The final instrument presented here is capable of characterizing individual particles down to 50 nm at the rate of 20 particles per second. In SPLAT mass spectra are generated by a two-step process, that uses a pulsed infrared laser to heat the particle and a time delayed pulsed UV laser to create ions. We describe a mode of operation that makes it possible to take advantage of the gas phase ionization of the semivolatile components of the particle, while also generating mass spectral signatures of the nonvolatile fraction, thereby providing complete particle mass spectra. We present some sample results from two field deployments of SPLAT.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Chemical Structure and Dynamics, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA 2: Imre Consulting, Richland, Washington, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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