Order of magnitude signal gain in magnetic sector mass spectrometry via aperture coding
Miniaturizing instruments for spectroscopic applications requires the designer to confront a tradeoff between instrument resolution and instrument throughput [and associated signal-to-background-ratio (SBR)]. This work demonstrates a solution to this tradeoff in sector mass spectrometry by the first application of one-dimensional (1D) spatially coded apertures, similar to those previously demonstrated in optics. This was accomplished by replacing the input slit of a simple 90° magnetic sector mass spectrometer with a specifically designed coded aperture, deriving the corresponding forward mathematical model and spectral reconstruction algorithm, and then utilizing the resulting system to measure and reconstruct the mass spectra of argon, acetone, and ethanol. We expect the application of coded apertures to sector instrument designs will lead to miniature mass spectrometers that maintain the high performance of larger instruments, enabling field detection of trace chemicals and point-of-use mass spectrometry.