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Professor Touradj Solouki of the University of Maine at Orono is supported by the Analytical and Surface Chemistry Program to investigate cryofocusing of analytes in an Electrospray Ionization Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (ESI-FT-ICR) mass spectrometer. To overcome sensitivity problems of FT-ICR, Professor Solouki has added a pre-concentration (PC) gas chromatograph (GC) step to his setup. The goal of this Small Grant for Exploratory Research is to add an additional device: a cryofocuser after the GC. This is predicted to improve the detection limit by two orders of magnitude, and mass resolving power by a factor of 5-10. The PI will then identify biomarkers for sensor development and establish a "gold standard" to evaluate analytical performance of sensor devices. Undergraduate and graduate students participate in the research.
Mass spectrometry is being developed as an almost "universal detector" and has been utilized to detect trace amounts of substances such as chemical and biological weapons. The instrument being developed in this research, while not fieldable as a sensor directly due to size and cost, can aid in the development of low cost, accurate sensors. It is thus of interest in national security, as well as a host of other medical and environmental applications.
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Solouski, Touradj, "Improving Performance Characteristics of Hyphenated Preconcentrator GC Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry: A "Gold Standard" for Sensor Development" (2005). University of Maine Office of Research and Sponsored Programs: Grant Reports. 61.