Conclusions

Through the use of commonly available, and inexpensive additive manufacturing methods, a system of small plastic electrodes was developed with unique applications in fields relating to mass spectrometry and ion mobility. In particular, the ability of such a system to focus, transport, and even separate ions using only the electric fields was shown. Additionally, the apparatus was used as a reaction vessel to perform ion-molecule reactions, which were subsequently analyzed by a mass spectrometer. The only forces acting on the ions are their initial energies associated with sprayed droplets—which are not pneumatically assisted—and the forces due to the static electric fields. It is also noted that the degree of solvation of the ions (if any) remains unknown. The modest separation of ions demonstrated in the simple, low-cost system suggests that through optimization, a device may be constructed in which ions may be purified through soft-landing or directly analyzed, all without the constraints of a vacuum system or well defined gas flow. Moreover, the detection and two dimensional profiling of the ion beam under ambient conditions, combined with the low cost of electrode production, may pave the way for distinct surface patterning with unorthodox electrode geometries.

 
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