ultraFAIMS is a new, chip-based FAIMS (field asymmetric ion mobility spectrometry) technology that interfaces with a Mass Spectrometer inlet to provide additional in-source separation of ions.
The heart of the Owlstone detection technology is a microchip-sized spectrometer that allows the selective transmission of ions with a particular differential mobility. It's based on UHFAIMS (Ultra High Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry). In FAIMS-MS, the FAIMS system is used as a tuneable filter, providing certain ions with a clear path to the mass spectrometer while blocking others. This means that in complex mixtures, ions of interest can be separated from the chemical background thus maximising the ability to detect a particular analyte.
FAIMS separates ions based on the differences in ion mobility of specific species at strong and weak fields, in other words this approach separates compounds according to how their charged forms move through a gas under a varying electric field. FAIMS devices selectively transmit ion species by applying an asymmetric high-frequency separation field that causes ions to drift towards the electrodes, and then superimposing a constant compensation field (CF) which allows a specific subset of ions to pass through the device. Scanning the compensation field produces a spectrum of ions separated by their differential mobilities. For more general information on FAIMS visit www.faims.com
The following presentation explains ultraFAIMS technology in more detail. It's best viewed full screen (if your browser requires it, click "more" then "full screen").
This video outlines the general principles of chip-based Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry. The ultraFAIMS-MS system uses a similar core chip, but the ionization and detection capabilities are provided by the mass spectrometer.
This presentation shows the performance improvements gained by moving from a 35 μm to a 100 μm gap UltraFAIMS chip. It was originally given by Owlstone's Ashley Wilkes at the ACS National Meeting 2012.