Journal of Undergraduate Research


single ion detection, mass spectrometry, low capacitance, MOSFET


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Mass spectrometry is an important tool for analytical chemistry that allows the chemical composition of a compound to be determined. In order to do so, it separates the compound into ions, and then detects the number of ions of different masses.

The charge on a single ion is very small, making it difficult to measure. In order to overcome this, current mass spectrometers must use methods such as electron multipliers to create a cascading effect of electrons until a measurable charge is reached or cryodetectors that measure the thermal change of an ion hit at low temperatures.1 Using methods such as these require the use of expensive, bulky machinery that can provide either vacuum conditions or extreme low temperature conditions, meaning that samples must be brought back to a lab for analysis.