High resolution PTR-TOF: Quantification and formula confirmation of VOC in real time
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We present the unprecedented capability to identify and quantify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by means of proton transfer reaction time-of-flight (PTR-TOF) mass spectrometry on-line with high time resolution. A mass resolving power of 4000–5000 and a mass accuracy of 2.5 ppm allow for the unambiguous sum-formula identification of hydrocarbons (HCs) and oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs). Test masses measured over an 11-wk period are very precise (SD < 3.4 ppm) and the mass resolving power shows good stability (SD < 5%). Based on a 1 min time resolution, we demonstrate a detection limit in the low pptv range featuring a dynamic range of six orders of magnitude. Sub-ppbv VOC concentrations are analyzed within a second; sub-pptv detection limits are achieved within a few tens of minutes. We present a thorough characterization of our recently developed PTR-TOF system and address application fields for the new instrument.