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Evaluation of the Predictive Power of SIMION/SDS Simulation Software for Modeling Ion Mobility Instruments

NCJ Number
International Journal of Mass Spectrometry Volume: 276 Issue: 1 Dated: 2008 Pages: 1-8
H. Lai; T. McJunkin; C. J. Miller; J. Scott; J. R. Almirall
Date Published
8 pages

In this project the combined use of SIMION 7.0 and the statistical diffusion simulation (SDS) user program in conjunction with SolidWorks® with COSMSOSFloWorks® fluid dynamics software to model a complete, commercial ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) was demonstrated for the first time and compared to experimental results for tests using compounds of immediate interest in the security industry (e.g., 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, 2,7-dinitrofluorene, and cocaine).


The goal of this research was to evaluate the predictive power of SIMION/SDS for application to IMS instruments. The simulation was evaluated against experimental results in three studies: (1) a drift:carrier gas flow rates study assessed the ability of SIMION/SDS to correctly predict the ion drift times; (2) a drift gas composition study evaluated the accuracy in predicting the resolution; (3) a gate width study compared the simulated peak shape and peak intensity with the experimental values. SIMION/SDS successfully predicted the correct drift time, intensity, and resolution trends for the operating parameters studied. Despite the need for estimations and assumptions in the construction of the simulated instrument, SIMION/SDS was able to predict the resolution between two ion species in air within 3 percent accuracy. The preliminary success of IMS simulations using SIMION/SDS software holds great promise for the design of future instruments with enhanced performance. (publisher abstract modified)