A flame-sampling molecular-beam photoionization mass spectrometer, recently designed and constructed for use with a synchrotron-radiation light source, provides significant improvements over previous molecular-beam mass spectrometers that have employed either electron-impact ionization or vacuum ultraviolet laser photoionization. These include superior signal-to-noise ratio, soft ionization, and photon energies easily and precisely tunable [E/Delta E(FWHM)approximate to 250-400] over the 7.8-17-eV range required for quantitative measurements of the concentrations and isomeric compositions of flame species. Mass resolution of the time-of-flight mass spectrometer is m/Delta m=400 and sensitivity reaches ppm levels. The design of the instrument and its advantages for studies of flame chemistry are discussed. (c) 2005 American Institute of Physics.
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