Miniaturized Mass Spectrometer

Sandia has developed an improved quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS). The improvement lies in the substitution of the conventional hot flament electron source with a cold cathode field emitter array (FEA), which in turn, allows the operations of a small QMS at much higher internal pressures then are currently achievable. By eliminating the hot flament, problems such as the thermal “cracking of delicate analytes molecules, outgassing of a “hot” flament, high-power requirements, flament contamination by outgas species, and spurious electromagnetic fields are avoided altogether. In addition, the ability to produce FEAs using well-known and well-developed photolithographic techniques permits the building of a QMS that has multiple redundancies of the ionization source at very low additional cost.


  • Low cost compared to other types of mass spectrometers
  • Simple and reliable
  • Relatively high pressure

Applications and Industries

  • Real-time exhaust gas analysis for automotive applications
  • Leak detection, residual gas analysis
  • Thermal desorption mass spectroscopy
  • Molecular beam analysis
  • Environmental analysis for liquid and gas samples
Technology ID




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