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Comparison of performance between PI and FI by using GC-HRTOFMS


Electron ionization (EI) is a common ionization technique for gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). However, EI often does not produce strong molecular ions (M+・) because the excess energy generates fragment ions during the ionization process.

The detection of the molecular ion is very important for confirming the molecular weight of the target compounds. Therefore, a soft ionization technique is often necessary to determine the molecular weight information.

Field ionization (FI) is well known as one of the softest ionization techniques commercially available. Similarly, photoionization (PI) can produce molecular ions. In this application note, the characteristics of PI and FI were investigated by using various compounds. Furthermore, the performance between EI, FI and PI for these compounds in diesel fuel were investigated.


All samples were analyzed by using JMS-T100GCV (JEOL Ltd.) with the optionally available EI/FI combination ion source and PI ion source. EI data was acquired by using the standard 70eV ionization energy with the EI/FI combination source. FI data was acquired by using a 5μm carbon emitter (Carbotec Analytik) with the combination EI/FI source. A deuterium lamp with a magnesium fluoride window (Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.) was used as the PI source. This lamp has an irradiation wavelength range from 115 to 400 nm (equivalent to the energy range from 3.1 to 10.7 eV) in which the maximum radiation intensity is at 160 nm (7.7 eV). And finally, the EI, FI and PI measurements were done with the same detector voltage so that the peak intensities could be directly compared for each ionization method.

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