13 November 2002 A nanoscale soft-ionization membrane: A novel ionizer for ion mobility spectrometers for space applications
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Abstract
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a novel nanometer-thick “Soft Ionization Membrane” (SIM) which is capable of ionizing nearly 100% of the gases that pass through it. Both sides of the membrane are coated with a metallic conducting film. A modest potential of less than 10 Volts across the membrane produces an electric field in excess of 107 V/cm over a region that is smaller than the mean free path of gas molecules which ionizes the neutral molecules that passing through. Because the region of high electric field is smaller than the mean free path of gas molecules, there are virtually no high energy collisions and the system does not suffer from the fatal problem of avalanche breakdown. The soft ionization mechanism does not fracture the medium or cause any secondary ionization. Thus, a truly new ionization technique is enabled by a simple nanoscale micromachined device. The SIM is tiny, rugged and well suited for a wide variety of applications ranging from space micropropulsion systems to miniature analytical separation devices. In this paper we focus our attention on ion mobility spectrometers (IMSs) as a potential candidate to be incorporated with SIM.
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Frank T. Hartley, Frank T. Hartley, Isik Kanik, Isik Kanik, } "A nanoscale soft-ionization membrane: A novel ionizer for ion mobility spectrometers for space applications", Proc. SPIE 4936, Nano- and Microtechnology: Materials, Processes, Packaging, and Systems, (13 November 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.484271; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.484271
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