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Determination of the Ionization Potentials of Security-Relevant Substances with Single Photon Ionization Mass Spectrometry Using Synchrotron Radiation

Volume 62, Number 2 (Feb. 2008) Page 238-247

Schramm, E.; Mühlberger, F.; Mitschke, S.; Reichardt, G.; Schulte-Ladbeck, R.; Pütz, M.; Zimmermann, R.


Several ionization potentials (IPs) of security relevant substances were determined with single photon ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (SPI-TOFMS) using monochromatized synchrotron radiation from the "Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung" (BESSY). In detail, the IPs of nine explosives and related compounds, seven narcotics and narcotics precursors, and one chemical warfare agent (CWA) precursor were determined, whereas six IPs already known from the literature were verified correctly. From seven other substances, including one CWA precursor, the IP could not be determined as the molecule ion peak could not be detected. For these substances the appearance energy (AE) of a main fragment was determined. The analyzed security-relevant substances showed IPs significantly below the IPs of common matrix compounds such as nitrogen and oxygen. Therefore, it is possible to find photon energies in between, whereby the molecules of interest can be detected with SPI in very low concentrations due to the shielding of the matrix. All determined IPs except the one of the explosive EGDN were below 10.5 eV. Hence, laser-generated 118 nm photons can be applied for detecting almost all security-relevant substances by, e.g., SPI-TOFMS.