Development of a field portable mass spectrometer for quantitative analysis of volatile organic compounds in air




Davey, Nicholas

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The typical strategy for atmospheric analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), is to collect discrete samples which are then transported to a laboratory for analysis. This method has limited spatial and temporal resolution, and can be both costly and time consuming. To overcome these limitations, a mobile monitoring platform was developed for real-time quantitative chemical analysis. This work describes the development of membrane introduction mass spectrometer and identi es the necessary requirements to make a reliable and e ective instrument for in-situ chemical analysis. These include, the integration of a membrane interface with a miniaturized mass spectrometer, development of a data management strategy, reducing the e ects of isobaric interferences and employing an internal standard for quantitative measurements. Furthermore, the negative e ects of environmental variables, such as the Earth's magnetic eld, were examined and e ectively eliminated. In addition, this work demonstrates quantitative mapping of atmospheric VOCs in real-time, which allows rapid identi cation of chemical plumes and therefore, areas of potential concern. Both lab and eld-based comparisons of iv membrane introduction mass spectrometer data and traditional whole air sampling canister data were undertaken. The primary eld site was near Ft. McMurray, AB where baseline data was collected around a steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) facility and surrounding public roads. Monitoring for fugitive emissions at this facility and surrounding bitumen mining and processing operations is demonstrated. Field data were also obtained, near an industrial site in Ft.Saskatchewan, AB, that demonstrate the e cacy of an adaptive sampling strategy. Finally, chemical ionization was investigated as a soft ionization strategy to improve chemical selectivity for the analysis of complex hydrocarbon mixtures. The development of an in-line liquid chemical ionization reagent delivery system is presented and proposed as an e ective strategy for eliminating interferences arising from biogenic terpenes and alkyl aromatics. In all, this thesis presents the design and implementation of a mobile membrane introduction mass spectrometer for atmospheric chemical analysis. Results that improve performance and demonstrate the novelty of the data-type are provided, along with avenues for future development.



atmospheric chemical analysis, ion-molecule reactions, membrane introduction mass spectrometry (MIMS), real time quantitative mapping