Several features of Syft Technologies’ Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) instruments make security and other surface testing applications attractive. Syft Voice200-series instruments are operated by frontline staff, with simple, easily interpreted reporting, and are proven in high throughput and industrial conditions. Combined with the high selectivity and sensitivity that SIFT-MS can achieve, this provides an analytical technique that can deal with the challenges of detecting trace compounds in complex matrices.
The main challenge – which is also faced by other technologies – is the reduced volatility of the compounds and/or their affinity for surfaces rather than the gas phase.
In the last year, we have been trialing a new swab desorber inlet to allow surface testing of semivolatiles. It uses a heated chamber to rapidly volatilize the semivolatile compounds prior to introducing the vapor into the instrument itself. Our lab trials have shown sensitive detection and good linearity for various compounds, including explosives, narcotics, drug precursors, and agricultural chemicals. Some examples of which are shown below.
The swab desorber inlet has been combined with a simple wipe sampling system, but it can be extended to filters and other ways of picking up semivolatile compounds. The swab desorber inlet is currently being field trialed in customs and border control applications.