Micro Mass Spectrometer

We are collaborating with researchers at Duke University to develop and test a miniature mass spectrometer that can identify even minute concentrations of chemicals present in air and other gases. Our scientists are developing the ion source, which combines state-of-the-art micromachining techniques with a carbon nanotube electron source, and the ion detector, which consists of a linear array of microfabricated Faraday cups.

The resulting microfabricated mass spectrometer will offer considerable advantages by virtue of its very small size, low power demand, and lower production cost. Potential application of this technology includes detection of gaseous environmental toxicants and medical diagnostics, as well as facilitating the search for water on Mars and isotope dating of materials.

In addition to developing a device with important application potential, we are striving through this work to advance the understanding of microscale gas phase ionization, reaction kinetics, and ion measurement.


Brian Stoner
Senior Fellow, Materials and Electronic Technologies