Ion-attachment mass spectrometry

Ion-attachment mass spectrometry (IAMS) is a form of mass spectrometry that uses a "soft" form of ionization similar to chemical ionization in which a cation is attached to the analyte molecule in a reactive collision:

Ion attachment mass spectrometry
Related itemsChemical ionization

Where M is the analyte molecule, X+ is the cation and A is a non-reacting collision partner.[1]


This technique is applicable to gases or any materials that can be vaporized. It uses a non-fragmenting non-conventional ionisation mode, by attachment of a lithium (or alkaline) ion to the gas to be analysed with a more traditional mass filter. This instrument is more dedicated to analysis of moderately-sized molecules such as organic or aromatic compounds.[2]


Currently, it is used industrially to verify, with a high throughput, the concentrations of brominated flame retardants (BFR) in plastics in compliance with European RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulation in place since 2006. The banned molecules include PBB and PBDE, whose concentration should not exceed 0.1% w/w.[3][4][5]

IAMS has also been used to analyze diesel exhaust particles,[6] in ceramic processing [7] and in critical silicon etching during semiconductor manufacturing.


  1. P. Christopher Selvin1; Toshihiro Fujii (2001). "Lithium ion attachment mass spectrometry: Instrumentation and features". Review of Scientific Instruments. 72 (5): 2248. Bibcode:2001RScI...72.2248S. doi:10.1063/1.1362439.
  2. "Aromatic ion attachment mass spectrometry: an ion-molecule reaction for organosulfur analysis". Organic Mass Spectrometry.
  3. "The guide of environmental quality assurance for a supplier of JVC" (PDF). JVC. July 2006.
  4. Pittcon 2006; Poster by Y. Shiokawa; The Rapid Analysis of Brominated Flame Retardants in Resin Used for Electrical Appliances by Ion Attachment Mass Spectrometry.
  5. "State of bromine based flame retarding agent mixing and its countermeasure". Sangyo to Kankyo.
  6. Masaki H, Chen L, Korenaga T (2006). "Direct analysis of diesel exhaust particles by fragmentation-free mass spectrometry using ion attachment mass spectrometry". Environmental sciences : an international journal of environmental physiology and toxicology. 13 (6): 347–52. PMID 17273150.
  7. Tsugoshi T, Nagaoka T, Nakamura M, Shiokawa Y, Watari K (2006). "Application of ion attachment mass spectrometry to evolved gas analysis for in situ monitoring of porous ceramic processing". Anal. Chem. 78 (7): 2366–9. doi:10.1021/ac0518248. PMID 16579621.


  • US 7164121 Ion Attachment Mass Spectrometry Method
  • US 7084397. Ion Attachment Mass Spectrometry Apparatus
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