Selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is a form of direct mass spectrometry that analyses volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air with typical detection limits at parts-per-trillion level (by volume: pptv). Real-time, quantitative analysis is achieved by applying precisely controlled soft chemical ionization and eliminating sample preparation, pre-concentration and chromatography.
SIFT-MS uses ultra-soft, precisely controlled chemical ionization (CI) coupled with mass spectrometric detection to rapidly quantify VOCs and permanent gases to low part-per-trillion concentrations by volume (pptv).
Soft chemical ionization is applied very precisely in SIFT-MS, allowing it to provide unparalleled selectivity among direct mass spectrometry techniques.
Eight chemical ionization agents (reagent ions) are applied in Syft instruments: H3O+, NO+, O2+, O–, O2–, OH–, NO2–, and NO3–. These eight reagent ions react with analyte VOCs and inorganic gases in very well controlled ion-molecule reactions, but they do not react with the major components of air (N2, O2, and Ar). This enables SIFT-MS to analyze air at trace and ultra-trace levels without preconcentration.
The inherent technical characteristics (including the precise ionization control and elimination of the chromatographic column) has allowed Syft technologies to develop commercial instruments with significant usability and integration advantages compared to other direct mass spectrometry techniques and GC-MS.