Evaluation of extractive electrospray ionization and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization for the detection of narcotics in breath

Evaluation of extractive electrospray ionization and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization for the detection of narcotics in breath

C. Berchtold, L. Meier, R. Zenobi 

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Abstract

Diagnosis by online breath analysis using mass spectrometry is challenging because of the low concen-trations of pertinent compounds in breath. Here we investigate extractive electrospray ionization and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization for the detection of narcotics in breath. The limit of detection was evaluated for morphine, fentanyl, norfentanyl, naloxone, cocaine, -hydroxybutyrolactone (GBL), and nicotine. They were found to be in the low fmol/s range, depending on the ionization system used.

Data was obtained on four different mass spectrometers: A quadrupole time-of-fight instrument, a 3D ion trap, a linear ion trap, and a portable ion trap. A system was developed to mix reference compounds with breath for the investigation of the ionization sources as well as for standardization and online quantification of semi-volatile compounds in breath.

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