Trace detection of organic compounds in complex sample matrixes by single photon ionization ion trap mass spectrometry: Real-time detection of security-relevant compounds and online analysis of the coffee-roasting process.
An in-house-built ion trap mass spectrometer combined with a soft ionization source has been set up and tested. As ionization source, an electron beam pumped vacuum UV (VUV) excimer lamp (EBEL) was used for single-photon ionization. It was shown that soft ionization allows the reduction of fragmentation of the target analytes and the suppression of most matrix components. Therefore, the combination of photon ionization with the tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) capability of an ion trap yields a powerful tool for molecular ion peak detection and identification of organic trace compounds in complex matrixes. Ibis setup was successfully tested for two different applications. The first one is the detection of security-relevant substances like explosives, narcotics, and chemical warfare agents. One test substance from each of these groups was chosen and detected successfully with single photon ionization ion trap mass spectrometry (SPI-ITMS) MS/MS measurements. Additionally, first tests were performed, demonstrating that this method is not influenced by matrix compounds. The second field of application is the detection of process gases. Here, exhaust gas from coffee roasting was analyzed in real time, and some of its compounds were identified using MS/MS studies.