A non-contact laser ablation cell for mass spectrometry

2012-11-27T08:44:33Z (GMT) by Dhinesh Asogan
A common analytical problem in applying LA sampling concerns dealing with large planar samples, e.g. gel plates, Si wafers, tissue sections or geological samples. As the current state of the art stands, there are two solutions to this problem: either sub-sample the substrate or build a custom cell. Both have their inherent drawbacks. With sub-sampling, the main issue is to ensure that a representative is sample taken to correctly determine the analytes of interest. Constructing custom cells can be time consuming, even for research groups that are experienced or skilled, as they have to be validated before data can be published. There are various published designs and ideas that attempt to deal with the issue of large samples, all of which ultimately enclose the sample in a box. The work presented in this thesis shows a viable alternative to enclosed sampling chambers. The non-contact cell is an open cell that uses novel gas dynamics to remove the necessity for an enclosed box and, therefore, enables samples of any arbitrary size to be sampled. The upper size limit of a sample is set by the travel of the XY stages on the laser ablation system, not the dimensions of the ablation cell.