Aerosol Mass Spectrometry Web Page


Animation of the Aerodyne AMS. Credit: Matt Thyson (Lexington, Massachusetts)

This page is maintained by Jose-Luis Jimenez. Email me at jose.jimenez@colorado.edu if you have any questions, corrections, and/or items that you would like me to add here. Information on aerosol mass spectrometry groups (with either custom or commercial instruments) that are not listed here is especially appreciated.



  1. Introduction


  2. Information on All Types of Real-Time Aerosol Mass Spectrometers
  3. 2.1- Type 1: Laser Vaporization
    2.1.1- Type 1A: Laser Desorption-Ionization (LDI)
    2.1.2- Type 1B: Two Laser Systems
    2.1.2- Type 1C: Laser Vaporization + Chemical Ionization
    2.2- Type 2: Thermal Vaporization
    2.2.1- Type 2A: Thermal Vaporization + Electron Impact Ionization
    2.2.2- Type 2B: Thermal Vaporization + Chemical Ionization
    2.2.3- Type 2C: Thermal Vaporization + Laser Photoionization
    2.4- Comparison of the Two Commercially Available Aerosol Mass Spectrometers
    2.5- Resources for Aerosol-MS Users

  4. Information on the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS)


  1. Introduction

    This web page is a repository of information and links about real-time (& near real-time) Aerosol Mass Spectrometry ("Aerosol-MS"). "Aerosols" are defined here as particles suspended in air (or other gases), with size ranges between a few nanomenters (1 nm = 10-9 m) and tens of micrometers (1 um = 10-6 m). "Aerosol -MS" is the measurement in real-time of the aerosol composition using a mass spectrometer. Almost always the particle size is measured simultaneously with the composition.

    The information is divided in two parts: a) General Information on all types of Aerosol Mass Spectrometry; and b) Information on the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS). There is comparatively more information on the Aerodyne AMS, basically because I know more about that system, since I have been, and still am, heavily involved in its development and use, so I have been able to compile more information about it.

    If you have any information and/or link that you would like added to this page, including resources that may be useful to Aerosol-MS practitioners, please send me an email

    If you want to learn about aerosol MS in general, you can look at:



  1. Information on All Types of Real-Time Aerosol Mass Spectrometers


  2. 2.1- Type 1 Aerosol-MS: Laser Vaporization

    2.1.1- Type 1A Aerosol-MS: Laser Desorption-Ionization (LDI)

    This first table compiles the information on the groups with custom-built Type 1A Aerosol-MS instruments:

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    PALMS Dan Murphy (Papers) Division of Meteorological Chemistry NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division Boulder, Colorado, USA
    Aerosol Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS)Kim Prather Department of ChemistryUniversity of California at San DiegoSan Diego, California, USA
    RSMSMurray Johnston & Tony WexlerDepartment of Chemistry & Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Delaware & University of California, DavisDelaware & California, USA
    Single Particle Mass Spectrometer Jan MarijnissenParticle Technology GroupTechnical University of DelftDelft, The Netherlands
    Single Particle Laser Ablation Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (SPLAT-MS)Dan Imre and Alla ZelenyukAtmospheric Chemistry DivisionBrookhaven National LabBrookhaven, New York, USA
    Single Particle Laser Ablation Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (SPLAT)Stephan Borrmann Cloud Physics and ChemistryMax Plank Institute for Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, & Research Center JuelichMainz, Germany
    Particle BlasterBill Reents Bell LabsMurray Hill, New Jersey, USA
    Single Particle Mass Spectrometer Tomas Baer & Roger MillerDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
    Single Particle Mass Spectrometer (SPMS)Michael ZachariahDepartment of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    Laser Ablation Mass Spectrometer (LAMS)Greg EvansDepartment of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of TorontoToronto, Canada
    Single Particle Mass SpectrometerKlaus-Peter Hinz and Bernhard SpenglerInstitute for Inorganic and Analytical ChemistryUniversity of GiessenGiessen, Germany
    Real-Time Mass SpectrometerPeter ReillyChemical Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak Ridge, Tennesee, USA
    Single Particle Mass SpectrometerRainer VogtFord Forschungszentrum Aachen GmbH Ford Motor CompanyAachen, Germany
    Single Particle Mass SpectrometerDenis PharesDepartment of Mechanical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege Station, Texas, USA
    Aerosol Mass SpectrometerJoe PetrucciDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of VermontBurlington, Vermont, USA
    Single Particle Analysis and Sizing System (SPASS)Niels R. JensenInstitute for Environment and SustainabilityEuropean Commission, Joint Research CentreIspra, Italy

    The second table compiles the information on the users of the commercial Type 1A Aerosol-MS instrument (TSI 3800 ATOFMS).

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    (Research instrument on which the commercial version is based) Aerosol Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS)Kim Prather Department of ChemistryUniversity of California at San DiegoSan Diego, California, USA
    TSI 3800 (Commercialized version of Kim Prather's ATOFMS)Markus GalliParticle Instrumentation DivisionTSI, Inc.St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
    TSI 3800 Deborah GrossDepartment of ChemistryCarleton CollegeMinnesotta
    TSI 3800 Eric GardLawrence Livermore National LabLivermore, California, USA
    TSI 3800 Peter McMurryDepartment of Mechanical Engineering & Particle Technology LaboratoryUniversity of MinnesottaMinneapolis, Minnesotta, USA
    TSI 3800 Robert DonovanDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of EdinburghEdinburgh, Scotland, UK
    TSI 3800 Prof. Michael SmithInstitute of Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of LeedsLeeds, England, UK
    TSI 3800-100 Ulrike Lohmann Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science ETH-Zurich Zurich, CH
    TSI 3800 Phil Hopke Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, and Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES) Clarkson University Postdam, NY, USA
    TSI 3800 Roy Harrison Department of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham Birmingham, UK
    TSI 3800 Mitsuo Uematsu Ocean Research Institute University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan
    TSI 3800 Greg Evans Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry University of Toronto Toronto, Canada

    Note: the information on the sales of TSI 3800 instruments is considered confidential by TSI, for that reason this list is probably incomplete (only includes those TSI 3800 users that I am aware of via other channels, such as the web or personal contacts). If you own a TSI 3800 and want to be listed here, send me an
    email.



    2.1.2- Type 1B Aerosol-MS: Two-Laser Systems

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    Single Particle Mass Spectrometer Tomas Baer & Roger MillerDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, North Carolina

    This approach was first demonstrated by the Prather Group (Morrical, B.D., D.P. Fergenson, and K.A. Prather. Coupling two-step laser desorption/ionization with aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the analysis of individual organic particles. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 9:1068-1073, 1998). However the group above is the only one I am aware of that is actively pursuing this approach.



    2.1.3- Type 1C Aerosol-MS: Laser Vaporization + Chemical Ionization

    The following two groups are working on this approach, although results have not been publicly presented to my knowledge (as of July 2003).

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    Kim Prather Department of ChemistryUniversity of California at San DiegoSan Diego, California, USA
    Peter ReillyChemical Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak Ridge, Tennesee, USA





    2.2- Type 2 Aerosol-MS: Thermal Vaporization

    2.2.1- Type 2A Aerosol-MS: Thermal Vaporization + Electron Ionization

    This first table compiles the information on custom-built Type 2A Aerosol-MS instruments:

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    Aerodyne AMS Doug Worsnop & John JayneCenter for Aerosol and Cloud ChemistryAerodyne ResearchBillerica, Massachusetts, USA
    Particle Beam Thermal Desorption Mass Spectrometer (PB-TDMS)Paul ZiemannDepartment of Environmental SciencesUniversity of California at RiversideRiverside, California, USA
    Aerosol Composition Mass Spectrometer (ACMS)Jochen Schreiner & Konrad MauersbergerMax-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics Heidelberg, Germany

    The tables that compile the information on the users of the commercial Type 2A Aerosol-MS instrument has moved Here. There are three separate tables for the three versions of the instrument, with the newest instrument listed first. Some specific instruments have been upgraded, in which case I list them only once in their latest configuration. Again please let me know of any errors.





    2.2.2- Type 2B Aerosol-MS: Thermal Vaporization + Chemical Ionization

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    Atmospheric Pressure - Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (AP-CIMS) Thorsten HoffmannInstitute of Spectrochemistry and Applied SpectroscopyDortmund, Germany
    Gas & Particle-Phase Selected-Ion Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (SI-CIMS)Paul WennbergDept. of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadena, California
    Thermal Desorption Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TDCIMS)Jim Smith & Fred EiseleAtmospheric Chemistry DivisionNational Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)Boulder, Colorado




    2.2.3- Type 2C Aerosol-MS: Thermal Vaporization + Laser Photoionization

    InstrumentPrincipal InvestigatorDepartmentInstitutionLocation
    Single Particle Mass Spectrometer Tomas Baer & Roger MillerDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, North Carolina
    Aerosol Mass Spectrometer Geoffrey SmithDepartment of ChemistryUniversity of GeorgiaAthens, Georgia
    VUV Aerosol Mass Spectrometer Musa AhmedChemical Dynamics Beam LineLawrence Berkeley National LabBerkeley, California
    VUV Photoionization Aerosol Mass Spectrometer Jinian Shu Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China




    2.4- Comparison of the Two Commercially Available Aerosol Mass Spectrometers

    Many people ask me about the advantages and disadvantages of the two commercially available aerosol mass spectrometers: the Aerodyne AMS and the TSI 3800. The first question I ask is: what do you want to do with it? Although the instruments are conceptually similar, the data produced are very different, and in a general sense the instruments are complementary. One or the other may be best suited for a specific application.

    The table below (taken from my 2002 AAAR Tutorial handouts) compares the main features & specifications. During the AAAR 2002 Conference, I asked representatives of both Aerodyne and TSI whether they disagreed with anything in the table, and no one suggested any changes at that time.

    If you think the table is not accurate or complete, please email me. If I agree with you, I'll modify the table. If I don't, I can still post your comments here (as such).




    2.5- Resources for Aerosol-MS Users


  3. Aerosol Resources

  4. Mass Spectrometry Resources


  5. Aerosol Instrumentation Manufacturers
  6. Calibration Particle Manufacturers
  7. Descriptions of Aerosol Instruments
  8. Software, Components, and Other Useful Stuff



  1. Information on the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer

    This information has been moved to separate pages to make this page more readable:




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