Aug. 29, 2006 Researchers are describing development of a shoebox-sized, handheld mass spectrometer capable of detecting minute amounts of chemical compounds in the environment. Among them are the peroxides believed involved in concerns about the safety of passenger jets early in August and other toxic and dangerous compounds.
R. Graham Cooks, Zheng Ouyang and colleagues describe the long-sought portable mass spectrometer, named the Mini 10, in a report scheduled for the Sept. 15 issue of the ACS journal, Analytical Chemistry.
Traditional mass spectrometers -- mainstays in identifying unknown chemical compounds -- are large, delicate laboratory instruments. Rugged and portable, the Mini 10 weighs about 22 pounds -- 30 times less than a conventional mass spectrometer -- and uses about as much battery power as a laptop computer.
"This instrument has evolved from a decade-long experimental and simulation program in mass spectrometer miniaturization," according to the Analytical Chemistry report.
The Mini 10 can perform chemical analysis while being carried and detects traces of chemical compounds quickly and accurately.
"These characteristics are especially applicable in public safety, environmental protection and industrial process monitoring," the report adds.
Reference: "Handheld Rectilinear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer." Analytical Chemistry
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