Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques
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I on mobility spectrometry (IMS) is an analytical tool for sensitive detection of gas phase compounds down to the pptV range.
It is widely known from military (chemical warfare agents) and security (drugs, explosives) applications. However, coupled to
fast gas-chromatographic pre-separation, it is furthermore highly selective and enables the characterization of complex humid
mixtures such as human breath or volatiles from sweat, urine, blood, bacteria and fungi cultures. When using miniaturized
electro spray ionization instead of the common radioactive sources, furthermore non-volatile metabolites can be detected, in
this case coupled to liquid-chromatography if required. Beside the high sensitivity and selectivity, the results are available after
few seconds to minutes and due to the relatively low required experimental effort ? instruments may be operated under ambient
temperature and pressure ? the IMS are inexpensive and mobile. The major drawback is the lack of possibilities to identify
unknown compounds in a sample. Therefore, IMS measurements are accompanied by drawing samples on adsorption materials
and later desorption for MS analysis coupled to comparable pre-separation for their identification. From this procedure, analyte
data bases are developed for the identification and quantification of particular relevant metabolites in samples such as breath,
sweat or urine without pre-treatment of the sample.
We will present the fundamentals of the method together with several significant applications from medicine (e.g. diagnosis
and therapy control in nephrology, determination of the level of medication) and from micro-biological applications (e.g. fast
identification of pathogen micro-organisms, metabolic profiling in cancer vs. healthy cell lines).
Wolfgang Vautz has completed his Ph.D. in 1991 at Mainz University. Since that time he is at ISAS first involved in atmospheric chemistry research
and since 2002 in ion mobility spectrometry. He carried out and published numerous studies related to process control, food quality and safety, micro-
biology and medical diagnosis and therapy control on the basis of ion mobility spectrometry. He is member of the board of the International Society
of Ion Mobility Spectrometry and editor of the
International Journal of Ion Mobility Spectrometry.
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