Evidence of Reactivity in the Membrane for the Unstable Monochloramine during MIMS Analysis

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Dec 3;18(12):4252. doi: 10.3390/s18124252.


Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry (MIMS) was used to analyze monochloramine solutions (NH₂Cl) and ammonia solutions in a compact FTICR. Chemical ionization enables identification and quantification of the products present in the permeate. The responses of protonated monochloramine and ammonium increase linearly with the solution concentration. The enrichments were respectively 1.2 and 5.5. Pervaporation is dependent on pH and only the basic form of ammonia NH₃ pervaporates through the membrane. Unexpectedly, the small ammonia molecule permeated very slowly. It could be due to interactions with water molecules inside the membrane that create clusters. Moreover, NH₂Cl solutions, in addition to the NH₃Cl⁺ signal, presented a strong NH₄⁺ signal at m/z 18.034. Ammonia presence in the low-pressure zone before ionization is probable as NH₄⁺ was detected with all the precursors used, particularly CF₃⁺ and trimethylbenzene that presents a proton affinity higher than monochloramine. Ammonia may be formed inside the membrane due to the fact that NH₂Cl is unstable and may react with the water present in the membrane. Those results highlight the need for caution when dealing with chloramines in MIMS and more generally with unstable molecules.

Keywords: CIMS; FTICR; MIMS; PTRMS; chemical ionization; in-membrane reaction; monochloramine.