A new approach of making ion trap mass analyzers was developed in which trapping fields are created in the space between two ceramic plates. Based on microfabrication technology, a series of independently-adjustable electrode rings is lithographically patterned on the facing surfaces of each ceramic plate. The trapping field can be modified or fine-tuned simply by changing the RF amplitude applied to each electrode ring. By adjusting the potential function applied to the plates, arbitrary trapping fields can be created using the same set of ceramic plates. Unlike conventional ion traps, the electrodes of planar ion traps have a non-equipotential surface, thus the electric field is independent of electrode geometry and can be optimized electronically. The simple geometry and open structure of planar ion traps address obstacles to miniaturization, such as fabrication tolerances, surface smoothness, electrode alignment, limited access for ionization or ion injection, and small trapping volume, thereby offering a great opportunity for a portable mass spectrometer device. Planar ion traps including the planar quadrupole ion trap and the coaxial ion trap have been designed and tested using this novel method. The planar quadrupole trap has demonstrated a mass range up to 180 Da (Th), with mass resolution typically between 400-700. We have also developed a novel ion trap in which both toroidal and quadrupolar trapping regions are created simultaneously between a set of plates. This "Coaxial Trap" allows trapping and mass analysis of ions in two different regions: ions can be trapped and mass analyzed in either the toroidal or quadrupolar regions, and transferred between these regions. Some simulation work based on the ion motion between two different trapping regions in the coaxial ion trap has been performed. Using a one-dimensional simulation method, ion motion was investigated to transfer ions between these two regions. The effect of the mutipole components in the radial field and axial field, amplitude and frequency of the primary RF and supplementary AC signal were studied to obtain high mass resolution in the axial direction and high transfer efficiency in the radial direction. In all these devices, the independent control of each patterned electrode element allows independent control of higher-order multipole fields. Fields can be optimized and changed electronically instead of physically as is done in conventional traps.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





Ion trap, Mass spectrometry, Instrumentation, Miniaturization, Planar quadrupole ion trap, Coaxial ion trap