The pulsed ion sources used in conventional time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) generally do not provide adequate resolving power across the mass range required for applications such as gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Theoretical and experimental aspects of beam deflection techniques, which provide time encoding for TOFJMS with continuous ions sources, are explored here. In this approach, ion source conditions do not affect resolving power, allowing for a greater variety of ionization modes to be used. Theoretical predictions for the resolving power attainable with beam deflection, which are satisfactory for GC/MS applications, agree well with experimentally determined values. The combination of GC-beam deflection-TOFMS with time-array detection is evaluated, and the capabilities of this system are compared to those of scanning mass spectrometers. © 1990 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
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