A high sensitivity glow discharge ion source system for analyzing particles includes an aerodynamic lens having a plurality of constrictions for receiving an aerosol including at least one analyte particle in a carrier gas and focusing the analyte particles into a collimated particle beam. A separator separates the carrier gas from the analyte particle beam, wherein the analyte particle beam or vapors derived from the analyte particle beam are selectively transmitted out of from the separator. A glow discharge ionization source includes a discharge chamber having an entrance orifice for receiving the analyte particle beam or analyte vapors, and a target electrode and discharge electrode therein. An electric field applied between the target electrode and discharge electrode generates an analyte ion stream from the analyte vapors, which is directed out of the discharge chamber through an exit orifice, such as to a mass spectrometer. High analyte sensitivity is obtained by pumping the discharge chamber exclusively through the exit orifice and the entrance orifice.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC05-000R22725 between the United States Department of Energy and UT-Battelle, LLC.