Technical Report

International Journal for Ion Mobility Spectrometry

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 103-108

First online:

Analytical description of IMS-signals

  • Bertram BödekerAffiliated withDepartment of Metabolomics, ISAS-Institute for Analytical Sciences Email author 
  • , Jörg Ingo BaumbachAffiliated withDepartment of Metabolomics, ISAS-Institute for Analytical Sciences

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Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is widely used to detect chemical warfare agents, illegal drugs or explosives. In such cases often the occurrence of single, well known analytes or rather small groups of analytes is considered. To retrieve analytes in rather complex matrices like human breath it becomes essential to describe all analytes, known and unknown. Therefore, a mathematical description of the peak shape of well known analytes–including their concentration profiles–and the shapes of unknown or overlapping peaks by a minimum number of parameters could significantly improve the recognition and quantification of signals in IMS-chromatograms. In the following, a function is presented which describes the theoretical surface of a peak on a given position and height. In addition, the peak-function method can be applied for decomposition of overlapping signals within IMS-chromatograms, which furthermore enables a direct determination of the volume of each peak for an accurate quantification.


Ion mobility spectrometry, IMS Multi-capillary column, MCC Peak shape Drift time Retention time Decomposition Quantification Concentration profile Peak function Overlapped peaks