We discuss miniaturization in mass spectrometry in terms of the mass analyzer, the mass spectrometer, and the total analytical system. Mass analyzer miniaturization has focused on ion traps. Decreases in mass analyzer size facilitate reduction of the sizes of the other components of a miniature mass spectrometer, especially the radio frequency electronics and vacuum system. Appropriate sample introduction systems are needed for performance optimization. The criteria by which a miniature mass spectrometer is judged include adequate performance in the traditional areas of resolution, detection limits, and specificity; ruggedness; reliability; and fully autonomous operation. Our discussion of the total analytical system emphasizes the removal of the bottleneck of sample preparation and suggests a solution to the combination of sampling, preconcentration, and ionization: ambient ionization methods. We also describe current miniature mass spectrometers.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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