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Ion Mobility Spectrometry: Fundamental Concepts, Instrumentation, Applications, and the Road Ahead

  • James N. Dodds
  • Erin S. BakerEmail author
Critical Insight

Abstract

Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a rapid separation technique that has experienced exponential growth as a field of study. Interfacing IMS with mass spectrometry (IMS-MS) provides additional analytical power as complementary separations from each technique enable multidimensional characterization of detected analytes. IMS separations occur on a millisecond timescale, and therefore can be readily nested into traditional GC and LC/MS workflows. However, the continual development of novel IMS methods has generated some level of confusion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each. In this critical insight, we aim to clarify some common misconceptions for new users in the community pertaining to the fundamental concepts of the various IMS instrumental platforms (i.e., DTIMS, TWIMS, TIMS, FAIMS, and DMA), while addressing the strengths and shortcomings associated with each. Common IMS-MS applications are also discussed in this review, such as separating isomeric species, performing signal filtering for MS, and incorporating collision cross-section (CCS) values into both targeted and untargeted omics-based workflows as additional ion descriptors for chemical annotation. Although many challenges must be addressed by the IMS community before mobility information is collected in a routine fashion, the future is bright with possibilities.

Keywords

Ion mobility spectrometry IMS Untargeted metabolomics Mass spectrometry 

Abbreviations

IMS

Ion mobility spectrometry

MS

Mass spectrometry

DTIMS

Drift tube ion mobility spectrometry

TWIMS

Traveling wave ion mobility spectrometry

TIMS

Trapped ion mobility spectrometry

FAIMS

Field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry

CCS

Collision cross-section

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (P42 ES027704) and by startup funds from North Carolina State University.

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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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