Paper-based microfluidic surface acoustic wave sample delivery and ionization source for rapid and sensitive ambient mass spectrometry

Jenny Ho, Ming K. Tan, David B. Go, Leslie Y. Yeo, James R. Friend, Hsueh Chia Chang

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110 Citations (Scopus)


A surface acoustic wave-based sample delivery and ionization method that requires minimal to no sample pretreatment and that can operate under ambient conditions is described. This miniaturized technology enables real-time, rapid, and high-throughput analysis of trace compounds in complex mixtures, especially high ionic strength and viscous samples that can be challenging for conventional ionization techniques such as electrospray ionization. This technique takes advantage of high order surface acoustic wave (SAW) vibrations that both manipulate small volumes of liquid mixtures containing trace analyte compounds and seamlessly transfers analytes from the liquid sample into gas phase ions for mass spectrometry (MS) analysis. Drugs in human whole blood and plasma and heavy metals in tap water have been successfully detected at nanomolar concentrations by coupling a SAW atomization and ionization device with an inexpensive, paper-based sample delivery system and mass spectrometer. The miniaturized SAW ionization unit requires only a modest operating power of 3 to 4 W and, therefore, provides a viable and efficient ionization platform for the real-time analysis of a wide range of compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3260-3266
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011

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