PTR-MS for Environmental Analysis

RJ Lee Group provides the clear solution with innovative proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry, or PTR-MS, technology. When you need to monitor to comply with industry safety standards or government regulations, the PTR-MS provides real-time quantitative results down to the single digit pptv-level. Whether you are sampling indoor air quality (IAQ) proactively to identify and prevent issues that may become legal or safety concerns, or to monitor for trend logging over a period of time to ensure compliance, the PTR-MS provides you with the solution.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. The PTR-MS can be used to determine passive smoking exposure, to help assess exposure of health care workers to anesthetic gases in hospitals, and in the monitoring of catalytic processes or processes in high technology manufacturing, such as the microelectronics industry, where airborne contamination interferes with clean room requirements.

Benefits of the PTR-MS include:

  • No sample preparation
  • Near Real-Time Analysis (Response time <100 ms)
  • Instant quantification
  • Changes in air can be captured daily
  • Very low limit of detection (LoD ~ 5 ppt) of VOCs
  • Allows monitoring of any indoor/outdoor air in any environment
  • Discriminates isomeric VOC compounds to separate and identify without using a carrier gas


PTR-MS Mobile Laboratory

RJ Lee Group has introduced another innovation with the PTR-MS Mobile Laboratory, a commercial van outfitted with the technology to provide remote analysis for outdoor locations. The van is also equipped with 100 feet of flexible hosing that for indoor testing at your location.  Because of its portability, the PTR-MS can measure VOC sources on site for chemical producers, power plants, petroleum refineries, etc., as well as record emissions from motor vehicles that change on a daily basis.

When used in a remote operation, the PTR-MS can monitor:

  • Long-range transport of VOCs, such as those from urban centers and provide metropolitan chemical concentration maps in real-time
  • Waste incineration and biomass monitoring, such as brushfires and forest fires
  • Agricultural applications, such as the impact of reactive trace gases above swamps, dairies, and feedlots, and the use of pesticides


Government Military Facilities

Historic chemical/fuel spills, fire training activities, landfills, drainage structures and underground storage tanks have created numerous potentially contaminated areas at military sites. Volatile compounds, such as carbon tetrachloride, TCE, and tetrachloroethylene, were used extensively for degreasing metal parts and equipment cleaning operations in the past, with disposal practices that led to their release into the environment. VOCs are the most significant organic contaminants in groundwater associated with disposal sites in the U.S. The PTR-MS mobile laboratory system is the most efficient means to locate VOC emissions throughout military complexes and identify the sources.

Recent PTR-MS Publications that RJ Lee Group Experts have Contributed to:

Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI): A Rural Appalachian Experience

Real-Time Measurements of Gas Phase Trichloramine (NCI3) in an Indoor Aquatic Center

Ethanol-based Disinfectant Sprays Drive Rapid Changes in the Chemical Composition of Indoor Air in Residential Buildings

Real-Time Measurements of Botanical Disinfectant Emissions, Transformations, and Multiphase Inhalation Exposures in Buildings

A Method for the Identification of COVID-19 Biomarkers in Human Breath using Proton Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

Influence of Mechanical Ventilation Systems and Human Occupancy on Time-Resolved Source Rates of Volatile Skin Oil Ozonolysis Products in a LEED-Certified Office Building