01 Nov 2022
 | 01 Nov 2022

The design and characterization of a High-Performance Single-Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HP-SPAMS)

Xubing Du, Qinhui Xie, Qing Huang, Xuan Li, Junlin Yang, Zhihui Hou, Jingjing Wang, Xue Li, Zhen Zhou, Zhengxu Huang, Wei Gao, and Lei Li

Abstract. This study describes a high-performance single-particle mass spectrometry (HP-SPAMS) design in detail. The comprehensive improvements of the injection system, optical sizing system, mass spectrometry, and data acquisition system have improved particle detection efficiency and chemical analysis. The combination of an aerodynamic particle concentrator (APC) system and a wide range of aerodynamic lenses (ADLs) enables the concentration of particles in the 100–5000 nm range by a factor of 3–5 times. The ion delayed exaction technology of bipolar time-of-flight mass spectrometry improves the mass resolution by 2~3 times, allowing the differentiation of multiple homogeneous masses of different substances. Moreover, the 4-channel data acquisition technology greatly enhances the dynamic range of mass spectrometry. The as-improved HP-SPAMS enhances the overall capability of the instrument in terms of particle detection number and detection efficiency. Moreover, it improves accuracy and sensitivity for component identification of individual particles.

The experimental performance of HP-SPAMS shows that the sizing detection efficiency of polystyrene latex microspheres is almost 70 %–100 % in the range of 300–3000 nm. Compared to the previous SPAMS, HP-SPAMS has a larger inlet flow rate, detection efficiency, and higher laser frequency, which makes HP-SPAMS increase the effective number of particles detected in the air by 47.8 times and improve the temporal resolution of detection. For the analysis of individual particles, the HP-SPAMS's improved resolution helps distinguish between most organic fragment ions and metal ions and facilitates the analysis of complex aerosol particles. For the analysis of individual particles, the increased resolution of the HP-SPAMS contributes to the differentiation of most organic fragment ions and metal ions and facilitates the evaluation of complex aerosol particles. In the case of atmospheric lead-containing particles, for example, HP-SPAMS can completely differentiate the isotopes of lead elements and the number of lead-containing particles is 145 times higher than that detected by SPAMS. The outstanding detection efficiency and chemical analysis capability of HP-SPAMS will be of great importance for low concentration aerosol detection and complex aerosol component analysis.

Xubing Du et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-872', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Lei Li, 04 Jan 2023
  • RC2: 'Review of the manuscript egusphere-2022-872 with the title: 'The design and characterization of a High-Performance Single-Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HP-SPAMS)' by Du et al.', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Nov 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Lei Li, 04 Jan 2023

Xubing Du et al.

Xubing Du et al.


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Short summary
Currently, the limitations of Single-particle mass spectrometry detection capabilities render it not yet well suited for analyzing complex aerosol components in low concentration environments. In this study, a new high-performance single-particle aerosol mass spectrometer (HP-SPAMS) is developed to enhance instrument performance regarding the number of detected particles, transmission efficiency, resolution, and sensitivity, which will help in aerosol science.