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Laser Mass Spectrometry in Trace Analysis

Environment: Trace Gas Monitoring

  1. Ulrich Boesl1,
  2. Hans-Jörg Heger1,
  3. Ralf Zimmermann2,
  4. Holger Nagel3,
  5. Peter Püffel4

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0714

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Boesl, U., Heger, H.-J., Zimmermann, R., Nagel, H. and Püffel, P. 2006. Laser Mass Spectrometry in Trace Analysis. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany

  2. 2

    GSF Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit GmbH, Oberschleissheim, Germany

  3. 3

    Bruker Franzen Analytic GmbH, Bremen, Germany

  4. 4

    BMW AG, München, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Laser mass spectrometry (laser-MS) in molecular trace analysis involves two analytical tools: Ultraviolet (UV)-spectroscopy in the gas phase and time-of-flight mass selection. Both tools are combined by resonance-enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI). This type of mass spectrometry is therefore called resonant laser-MS in the following text. The special features of resonant laser-MS are high selectivity, rapidity, multicomponent capacity, and adaptability for application to many different problems. Beneath the fundamental principle of this analytical technique (i.e. REMPI and time-of-flight mass selection) several options are described in this article, such as medium or high resolution of mass selection and UV-spectroscopy. These options allow more or less sophisticated instrumentation and optimized adaptation to specific analytical problems. The reader will be introduced to the principles of resonant laser-MS and then to its history and the state-of-the-art of its application. This organization should help the reader to recognize the importance of the early experiments and of modern tendencies for application of laser-MS in trace analysis. The large experimental and instrumental variety and the tables of numerous researchers and applications presented in section 3 may demonstrate the flexibility and growing acceptance of resonant laser-MS. The examples presented, which illustrate the usefulness of resonant laser-MS in practice, include on-line trace analysis of emissions from combustion processes, e.g. from combustion engines or municipal incinerators. The article ends with a discussion of possible calibration processes, detection limits, and a summary of specific features.