Dopant titrating ion mobility spectrometry for trace exhaled nitric oxide detection

J Breath Res. 2015 Jan 5;9(1):016003. doi: 10.1088/1752-7155/9/1/016003.


Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a promising non-invasive tool for the analysis of exhaled gas and exhaled nitric oxide (NO), a biomarker for diagnosis of respiratory diseases. However, the high moisture in exhaled gas always brings about extra overlapping ion peaks and results in poor identification ability. In this paper, p-benzoquinone (PBQ) was introduced into IMS to eliminate the interference of overlapping ion peaks and realize the selective identification of NO. The overlapping ions caused by moisture were titrated by PBQ and then converted to hydrated PBQ anions (C6H4[Formula: see text](H2O)n). The NO concentration could be determined by quantifying gas phase hydrated nitrite anions (N[Formula: see text](H2O)n), product ions of NO. Under optimized conditions, a limit of detection (LOD) of about 1.4 ppbv and a linear range of 10-200 ppbv were obtained for NO even in 100% relative humidity (RH) purified air. Furthermore, this established method was applied to measure hourly the exhaled NO of eight healthy volunteers, and real-time monitoring the exhaled NO of an esophageal carcinoma patient during radical surgery. These results revealed the potential of the current dopant titrating IMS method in the measurement of exhaled NO for medical disease diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anions / analysis
  • Benzoquinones
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Exhalation
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Limit of Detection
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Nitrites / analysis
  • Titrimetry


  • Anions
  • Benzoquinones
  • Biomarkers
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Nitrites
  • Nitric Oxide
  • quinone