Researchers have been working on miniaturizing mass spectrometers for more than two decades. They’ve succeeded in making smaller instruments, but those instruments are still looking for a broader set of users. In this package, once you’ve read about some of the challenges developers face in getting miniature mass specs to catch on, you can continue reading about two new advances in technology and two applications where miniature mass specs are having an impact.
Image caption: The vacuum chamber (box in center) contains the ionization source, mass analyzer, and detector for a miniature mass spec. The vacuum pump and electronics for this system have not yet been miniaturized.