1RAMEM S.A., Sambara 33, 28027 Madrid, Spain
2National Center for Metallurgical Research (CENIM-CSIC), Avda. Gregorio del Amo 8, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Abstract. A high-resolution differential mobility analyzer (DMA), specially designed for
(i) the measurement of ion mobility spectra, and
(ii) the generation of a continuous stream of monomobile ions,
has been developed and tested. The apparatus consists of two parallel-plate electrodes between which an electric field is applied. The test ion stream flows into the instrument through a narrow rectangular slit made in one of the electrodes, and migrates toward the other electrode driven by the applied field, while being transported by a stream of clean air which flows parallel to the plates at Reynolds number between 2×104 and 9×104 in laminar flow conditions. The collector electrode contains also a narrow slit through which ions of the desired mobility are withdrawn out of DMA. The classified ion current is measured with a high-sensitivity electrometer having a noise level around 0.1 fA.
The theory behind the DMA operation is first discussed, focusing on the special case of parallel-plate geometry. Some generic results showing the stability and repeatability of the measurements and the resolving power of the instrument are presented next. The last part of the paper deals with the application of the apparatus to the study of the effect of humidity and aging time on the mobility spectra of air ions generated by a low-activity 241Am source.