Counting individual ions in the air by tagging them with particles

Published paper: Counting individual ions in the air by tagging them with particles
Dr B. Gorbunov, 20 May 2017
Chemical Physics 492 (2017) 1–4


The quantification of ultra-low concentrations of molecules and ions in gases is of fundamental and practical importance for science and technology, for example, the detection of explosives in airports or biomarkers in medical diagnostics. Often the Faraday cup is employed to transfer ion concentrations in an electric current that is then amplified and measured. One of the main challenges is to increase the sensitivity of detection. A novel concept has been developed that enables detection of individual ions in gases by tagging them with neutral nano-objects. The concentration of ionized molecules was measured and a detection limit of 5 cm−3 was observed. It is anticipated that this concept opens doors for advances in detection sensitivity for many applications including security, medical diagnostic, trace chemical analysis.

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