2015 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages A0041
In a tutorial paper on the application of free-jet technique for API-MS, John Fenn mentioned that “…for a number of years and a number of reasons, it has been found advantageous in many situations to carry out the ionization process in gas at pressures up to 1000 Torr or more” (Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 200: 459–478, 2000). In fact, the first ESI mass spectrometer constructed by Yamashita and Fenn had a counter-flow curtain gas source at 1050 Torr (ca. 1.4 atm) to sweep away the neutral (J. Phys. Chem. 88: 4451–4459, 1984). For gaseous ionization using electrospray plume, theoretical analysis also shows that “super-atmospheric operation would be more preferable in space-charge-limited situations.”(Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 300: 182–193, 2011). However, electrospray and the corona-based chemical ion source (APCI) in most commercial instrument are basically operated under an atmospheric pressure ambient, perhaps out of the concern of safety, convenience and simplicity in maintenance. Running the ion source at pressure much higher than 1 atm is not so common, but had been done by a number of groups as well as in our laboratory. A brief review on these ion sources will be given in this paper.