SPME-IMS Interface for Extraction, Detection, and Characterization of Volatile Compounds


Florida International University (FIU) is pursuing a business partner interested in developing and commercializing a Solid Phase Microextraction-Ion Mobility Spectrometry (SPME-IMS) Interface for Extraction, Detection, and Characterization of Volatile Compounds.

IMS is a rugged, inexpensive, sensitive, field portable technique for the detection of organic compounds. It is widely employed in ports of entry and by the military as a particle detector for explosives and drugs of abuse. Many organic high explosives do not have a vapor pressure high enough for effective vapor sampling, but these explosives and their commercial explosive mixtures have characteristic volatile components detectable in a headspace when contained. In addition, commercially manufactured explosives can also contain taggants to aid in detection through headspace sampling. SPME is an effective extraction technique employed for the absorption and/or adsorption of a variety of compounds, and can easily extract these compounds from the headspace for IMS vapor detection.

FIU inventors have developed a SPME-IMS interface to couple the extraction efficiency of SPME to the detection capability of IMS. This new SPME-IMS interface extracts vapors from explosives, taggants in explosives, controlled substances, biohazards, and mixtures from a headspace for subsequent detection by a commercially available IMS in a simple, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive manner. Because the SPME device has increased surface area for absorption and/or adsorption of the target vapor, the detection of volatile compounds is more sensitive and accurate without affecting the extraction time. The improved sensitivity could allow the detection and characterization of target vapors that prior art methods or devices cannot detect.

  • Pre-concentration and detection of organic explosive and narcotic odor signatures in large confined spaces, such as the cargo hold of an aircraft or large shipping containers.
  • Allows for a passive detection as do not require the user to touch the suspect surface or substance
  • More sensitive than IMS for particle sampling (Limit of detection of 0.03 ng vs 2.08 ng for TNT)
  • Provides rapid field sampling of large rooms and containers
  • Can be used as an accessory to already available IMS instrumentation

Call Anne-Laure “Anlo” Schmitt-Olivier at 305-348-5948 or fill out the quick contact form below.