Increasing the Upper Mass/Charge Limit of a Quadrupole Ion Trap for Ion/Ion Reaction Product Analysis via Waveform Switching

  • Kenneth W. Lee
  • Gregory S. Eakins
  • Mark S. Carlsen
  • Scott A. McLuckeyEmail author
Focus: Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS): Research Article


Quadrupole ion traps (QITs) are versatile platforms for performing experiments with gas-phase ions due to their abilities to store ions of both polarities and to conduct MSn experiments. The QIT is particularly useful as a reaction cell for ion/ion reactions. In the case of an ion/ion reaction experiment in a QIT, multiply charged reactant ions may initially be of relatively low m/z (e.g., m/z < 1000) whereas the product ions can be one or more orders of magnitude higher in m/z (e.g., m/z > 100,000). Several factors can limit the m/z range over which an ion/ion reaction experiment can be conducted. These include (1) the efficiency of the detector, (2) the m/z range over which oppositely charged ions can be mutually stored, and (3) the m/z range over which ions can be mass selectively ejected into an external detector. High-frequency waveforms provide larger m/z trapping ranges for mutual storage of oppositely charged ions whereas low-frequency waveforms provide better trapping for very high m/z product ions. Presented here is a method that switches from a high-frequency sine wave prior to and during an ion/ion reaction to a low-frequency square wave to eject low m/z reagent ions and improves confinement of the product ions before mass-selective ejection by scanning the frequency of the square wave. This approach addresses the third issue, which is the primary limiting factor with QITs operated at high RF (e.g., > 900 MHz).

Graphical Abstract


Quadrupole ion trap Ion/ion reactions Digital ion trap High-mass ion 



This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Grant GM R37-45372. Dr. Jeixun Bu and Dr. Eric Dziekonski are acknowledged for initiating our efforts with DIT technology as is the Purdue Chemistry Department’s Jonathan Amy Facility for Chemical Instrumentation for its role in developing and building the custom electronics used in this research.


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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