Agilent JetClean self-cleaning ion source means you clean less, analyze more
Elizabeth Almasi, Agilent Application Manager, Mass Spectrometry Division
During routine GC/MS analysis, matrix deposits inevitably build up in the MS ion source. As a result, an operator must be present to routinely remove the ion source, clean the lenses and other source components, then put it all back together and pump down and recalibrate the instrument. Now the patented Agilent JetClean self-cleaning ion source greatly reduces or even eliminates the need for manual source cleaning for Agilent single and triple quadrupole GC/MS systems.
Figure 1. Cross-section of the Agilent JetClean self-cleaning ion source, which uses precisely controlled hydrogen flow to keep the ion source clean from contamination.
Figure 2. The straightforward Agilent MassHunter software user interface gives you the power to customize settings for automated MS ion source cleaning.
Agilent JetClean (Figure 1) uses a unique mixture of helium and hydrogen to clean the ion source. JetClean allows labs to maintain response for months, or even years, so they can avoid tedious and frequent manual source cleaning. As a result, they can increase productivity and profitability. JetClean is available as an option on new or as an upgrade on existing Agilent single quadrupole and triple quadrupole GC/MS systems.
JetClean control is fully integrated in the Agilent MassHunter Workstation software, allowing easy, simple setup and operation. Parameters are saved in the method (Figure 2) and in the instrument log file, and are readily portable.
Flexible cleaning modes put you in control
Agilent JetClean has two operational modes. In the “clean only” mode, analysis takes place in an inert helium-only environment. If the measured analytes interact with hydrogen or if you use chemical ionization (CI), this is the operational mode of choice because it ensures that no spectral anomalies will occur due to the presence of hydrogen. The analysis is stopped periodically and hydrogen is automatically introduced to the source to remove the accumulated contaminants.
In the “acquire and clean” mode, hydrogen is continuously applied. This mode of operation is very simple and extremely efficient, but applicable only for EI analyses where the analytes do not interact with hydrogen.
The JetClean self-cleaning ion source has proven useful in a number of applications. An article in Journal of Chromatography A describes the use of the first generation of the self-cleaning ion source for analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Researchers monitored 62 PAHs over a wide concentration range (1 to 10,000 pg/µL). They observed excellent linearity, with R2 values better than 0.998. The quality control samples were within five percent of the true values over many months of operation, and mean limits of detection (LODs) were very low at 1.02 +/- 0.82 pg/µL.
Figure 3. Trace pesticide measurements show that the JetClean source used in the “clean only” mode reduced the need for manual cleaning by more than 80 percent.
Examples demonstrate reduced need for manual source cleaning
For analyses of pesticides in food, the Agilent JetClean source reduced the need for manual source cleaning by better than 80 percent. The food samples included fruits, vegetables, cereals, and very dirty tea samples. Samples were prepared by QuEChERS extraction followed by a simple PSA (primary- secondary amine) and MgSO4 cleanup. The ultratrace analysis (1 to 250 ppb level) required GC/MS/MS monitoring of more than 160 pesticides. Figure 3 compares the source cleaning requirements for the standard versus the JetClean source and shows that the JetClean source significantly reduced the need for manual cleaning.
Posters presented at the most recent American Society for Mass Spectrometry meeting demonstrated other analyses where the JetClean self-cleaning ion source increased robustness:
The Agilent JetClean self-cleaning ion source reduces manual cleaning frequency, which translates directly into increased productivity and profitability. Available as an option or upgrade on Agilent single quad and triple quad GC/MS systems, this source:
Delivers a more consistent response for months or even years without manual source maintenance
Reduces instrument downtime with less interruption of the analysis by frequent disassembly and reassembly of the ion source
Eliminates the need for specialized mass spec expertise to ensure the source is kept clean from contamination