SPion Tube™ solves a significant challenge that has remained unsolved for many decades: when ions are produced far from a mass spectrometer, it is difficult, if not impossible, to efficiently transfer the ions to the mass analyzer. This problem has been a significant ion transfer bottleneck until now.
When a sample is located at a distance from a mass spectrometer, generally two approaches are available for mass spectrometry analysis. In the first approach, called in-situ sampling, neutral molecules from the sample are transferred to the mass spectrometer and ionized after reaching the mass spectrometer. In the second approach, called in-situ ionization, the sample is ionized in situ, and the ions are transferred to the mass spectrometer for analysis.
In both approaches, insulator or metal tubes are commonly used to transfer molecules or ions from the sample to the mass spectrometer. However, there are limitations associated with both approaches. For example, techniques employing in-situ sampling suffer from carry-over issues, which can be difficult to overcome, whereas techniques utilizing in-situ ionization suffer from loss of sensitivity due to significant ion loss along the insulator or metal tubes. Moreover, these issues scale exponentially as tube length increases.
SPion System™ was conceived by analyzing the problem from a different perspective: instead of using an insulator or a metal tube to bridge the gap between a remote sample and a mass spectrometer, what if, instead, the front end of the mass spectrometer extends to reach the sample? This reconceptualization of the problem set the foundation to re-engineer the front end of a mass spectrometer into an “elongated” form to solve the remote sample analysis dilemma. SPion System™ is a highly engineered solution that has been designed and constructed with the same level of precision that goes into the design of mass spectrometers.