Ion funnel augmented Mars atmospheric pressure photoionization mass spectrometry for in situ detection of organic molecules

J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2014 Nov;25(11):1832-40. doi: 10.1007/s13361-014-0930-z. Epub 2014 Jul 2.


Laser desorption is an attractive technique for in situ sampling of organics on Mars given its relative simplicity. We demonstrate that under simulated Martian conditions (~2.5 Torr CO(2)) laser desorption of neutral species (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), followed by ionization with a simple ultraviolet light source such as a discharge lamp, offers an effective means of sampling organics for detection and identification with a mass spectrometer. An electrodynamic ion funnel is employed to provide efficient ion collection in the ambient Martian environment. This experimental methodology enables in situ sampling of Martian organics with minimal complexity and maximum flexibility.

MeSH terms

  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Mars*
  • Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Space Flight / instrumentation*
  • Space Flight / methods


  • Organic Chemicals