Microtrap interface for on-line mass spectrometric monitoring of air emissions

Somenath Mitra, Chaohua Feng, Lizhong Zhang, Wenpin Ho, Gary McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


One of the problems in on-line mass spectrometric monitoring of air emissions is that whereas organic pollutants are present at trace concentrations (ppm to ppt levels), background gases such as H2O and CO2 may be present at per cent levels. Moisture in particular is a source of serious interference. A sampling interface that eliminates these interferences but allows the continuous introduction of organics into the mass spectrometer is presented. The interface consists of a micro-sorbent trap (referred to as the microtrap) that selectively traps the organics, and then injects them into the mass spectrometer via rapid thermal desorption with an electric pulse of ~ 1 s duration. Continuous (or near-continuous) monitoring is achieved by making a series of desorptions while the air flows continuously through the system. The applicability of this approach is demonstrated by monitoring the emissions from a catalytic incinerator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-485
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Spectroscopy


  • Air emissions
  • Continuous emission monitor
  • Microtrap interface
  • On-line monitoring
  • Process mass spectrometry


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