A method for raising the resolving power, specificity, and peak capacity of conventional ion mobility spectrometry is disclosed. Ions are separated in a dynamic electric field comprising an oscillatory field wave and opposing static field, or at least two counter propagating waves with different parameters (amplitude, profile, frequency, or speed). As the functional dependencies of mean drift velocity on the ion mobility in a wave and static field or in unequal waves differ, only single species is equilibrated while others drift in either direction and are mobility-separated. An ion mobility spectrum over a limited range is then acquired by measuring ion drift times through a fixed distance inside the gas-filled enclosure. The resolving power in the vicinity of equilibrium mobility substantially exceeds that for known traveling-wave or drift-tube IMS separations, with spectra over wider ranges obtainable by stitching multiple segments. The approach also enables low-cutoff, high-cutoff, and bandpass ion mobility filters.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC05-76RLO1830, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.