An ion mobility spectrometer does not require a physical aperture grid to prevent premature ion detector response. The last electrodes adjacent to the ion collector (typically the last four or five) have an electrode pitch that is less than the width of the ion swarm and each of the adjacent electrodes is connected to a source of free charge, thereby providing a virtual aperture grid at the end of the drift region that shields the ion collector from the mirror current of the approaching ion swarm. The virtual aperture grid is less complex in assembly and function and is less sensitive to vibrations than the physical aperture grid.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.