Decomposition of overlapping plasmagram peaks by spectral subtraction

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Low field atmospheric pressure Ion Mobility Spectroscopy (IMS) involves the careful analysis of plasmagrams with multiple peaks which can mask one another when they are closely spaced in drift time or corresponding reduced mobility. A typical signal processing approach to decomposing overlapped peaks would be to use an orthogonal decomposition technique, but unfortunately Gaussian-like functions are not orthogonal, so no unique decomposition can be guaranteed. However, each ion species in the drift tube will arrive at the Faraday plate with a known statistical distribution determined by the IMS instrument's drift tube design, electric field strength, reagent gas flow and other instrument-specific factors such as the ion gate function. This paper presents a straightforward algorithm for decomposing plasmagrams into distinct peaks using a subtractive technique that independently estimates the statistical parameters of each peak, rejecting spurious peaks and electrical noise. The results show that for relatively short gate times, the plasmagram peaks are nearly Gaussian-shaped, but slightly fatter and asymmetric. We show that including of the gate rise and fall times is also significant in matching the plasmagram peak shape. We also show that the diffusion effects on resolution can be attributed to combinations of non-uniform ion distributions in the reaction chamber as well as detritus effects in the drift tube. Given the known peaks statistical parameters, one can then separate overlapping peaks using a straightforward spectral subtractive technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-136
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Ion Mobility Spectrometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Spectroscopy


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