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Recommendation of a standard format for data sets from GC/IMS with sensor-controlled sampling

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International Journal for Ion Mobility Spectrometry


The harmonization of data formats is always under discussion, especially with respect to the increasing application of ion mobility spectrometry in metabolomics and different other life sciences. To organise the exchange between different types of ion mobility spectrometers (IMS) using various pre-separation techniques [gas-chromatography (GC), e.g. multi-capillary columns (MCC)] applied and several sensors for a controlled sampling and to start a uniform visualisation procedure, a data format is recommended with respect to further use in data acquisition, visualisation, peak finding, signal comparison and data mining. Although the format is optimised for MCC/IMS and GC/IMS with sampling control by CO2 or flow sensors for breath analysis, its flexibility is ensured by the possibility of version-controlled modifications. The data format proposed will be described in detail.

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  1. A controlled sample is needed, when the sample should not be introduced continuously into the IMS to avoid contamination. This can be done by help of a loop which is filled with the sample and then will be introduced into the IMS. If human breath should be analysed, inhalation and expiration have to be differentiated. This can be done e.g. by help of flow or CO2 sensors. Their signal can be used to control e.g. a magnetic valve which enables filling of the sample loop only when e.g. the subject exhales.


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The financial support of the European Union, the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung and the Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft, Forschung und Technologie des Landes NRW is thankfully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Wolfgang Vautz.

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Vautz, W., Bödeker, B., Bader, S. et al. Recommendation of a standard format for data sets from GC/IMS with sensor-controlled sampling. Int. J. Ion Mobil. Spec. 11, 71–76 (2008).

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