Micro Ion Mobility Spectrometry for Gas-phase Detection

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


In an ideal world, we might be able to rapidly detect and classify any type of chemical and biological that is found in low concentrations, using instruments of small size and easy implementation. Is in that scenario where the Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) appeared. It is a technique of measurement and analysis, where ionized analytes are separated by mobility differences under electric field in a flow of neutral gas or air at ambient pressure and temperature. The advantages of IMS include compactness and portability of instrumentation, short separation time (milliseconds scale), and low detection limits, and allow a wide range of applications. In this sense, an intense research effort has been focused towards miniaturization from the available IMS’s devices to the micro high-Field Asymmetric waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometers (FAIMS). This thesis presents the first developments and technological contributions to the FAIMS at IMB-CNM (CSIC). Particularly, this work is dedicated to the simulation, design, and fabrication of a micro planar FAIMS (p-FAIMS) for security applications. The work is organized in five chapters divided in two sections. The first section consists of three chapters. Chapter one is introductory, and on Chapter two introduces the lector to the actual state-of-the-art of the Ion Mobility Spectrometry in general and in particular for the micro high-Field Asymmetric waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometry. Chapter three described the modeling of a planar type of FAIMS for different electric fields and flow conditions. The second section consists of two chapters. Chapter four provides a summary of the different designs and materials considered for the p-FAIMS implementation: Glass-Si-Glass and PCB-PMMA-PCB structures; the technological tasks done for each one and the solving strategies that have leaded to it. UV photoionization has been the chosen as ionization method for safety reasons in all cases. It also presents the characterization with toluene of the new low-cost p-FAIMS prototype fabricated in the IMB-CNM. Chapter five provides a summary of the feasibility study of an online-monitoring of an analgesic drug (remifentanil) in patients breath under anesthesia. A commercial Ion Mobility Spectrometer is used for this medical application in collaboration with the KIST-Europe and the Chirurgische Universitätsklinik from Homburg (Germany).
Date of Award22 Jul 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEduardo Figueras Costa (Director), Isabel Gracia Tortades (Director) & Francesc Pi Vila (Tutor)


  • Ion mobility spectrometry
  • Comsol
  • Volatile organic comprounds

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