Sensitive detection of drug vapors using an ion funnel interface for secondary electrospray ionization mass spectrometry


Renato Zenobi, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:


In this study, we use an ion funnel (IF) at ambient pressure to enhance the sensitivity of secondary electrospray ionization (SESI). Atenolol, salbutamol and cocaine as test compounds are delivered to the SESI interface in the gas phase and are charged with three nano electrosprays. In our experiments, we show that the compounds can be detected at concentrations in the low pptv range, which is an increase of two orders of magnitude compared with the results without the IF. With a standard SESI interface, the compounds could not be detected at all. With the use of the SESI IF interface for the headspace analysis of bananas and limes, we can detect many more compounds and at higher intensities than with a standard SESI interface. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.