Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 26(2):271-80, 2, 2015. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Desorption atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (DAPCI) is implemented on a portable mass spectrometer and applied to the direct detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkyl substituted benzenes. The presence of these compounds in the environment poses a significant threat to the health of both humans and wildlife because of their carcinogenic, toxic, and mutagenic properties. As such, instant detection outside of the laboratory is of particular importance to allow in-situ measurement at the source. Using a rapid, high throughput, miniature, handheld mass spectrometer, several alkyl substituted benzenes and PAHs (i.e., 1,2,3,5-tetramethylbenzene, pentamethylbenzene, hexamethylbenzene, fluoranthene, anthracene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene, acenaphthene, indeno[1,2,3-c,d]pyrene, 9-ethylfluorene, and 1-benzyl-3-methyl-naphthalene) were identified and characterized using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) from ambient surfaces, in the open air. This method can provide almost instantaneous information while minimizing sample preparation, which is advantageous in terms of both cost and simplicity of analysis. This MS-based technique is applicable to a wide range of environmental organic molecules.