Direct analysis in real time (DART) is a recently developed ambient ionization technique for mass spectrometry to enable rapid and sensitive analyses with little or no sample preparation. After swab-based field sampling, the organothiophosphate malathion was analyzed using DART-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry (MS) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Mass resolution was documented to be over 800,000 in full-scan MS mode and over 1,000,000 for an MS/MS product ion produced by collision-induced dissociation of the protonated analyte. Mass measurement accuracy below 1 ppm was obtained for all DART-generated ions that belonged to the test compound in the mass spectra acquired using only external mass calibration. This high mass measurement accuracy, achievable at present only through FTMS, was required for unequivocal identification of the corresponding molecular formulae.
Keywords: Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance; direct analysis in real time; mass spectrometry; simulated chemical warfare agent; surface swabbing.