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Confined DART-MS for rapid chemical analysis of electronic cigarette aerosols and spiked drugs



Thomas P. Forbes, Shannon Krauss


A confined direct analysis in a real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) system and method were developed for coupling directly with commercial electronic cigarettes for rapid analysis without sample preparation. The system consisted of a confining heated glass T-junction, DART ionization source, and Vapur interface to assist aerodynamic transport. Suction generated by positioning the electronic cigarette at the junction inlet allowed for direct chemical analysis of aerosolized electronic liquids from both automatic devices powered by drag and manual button-operated devices, which is unachievable with traditional DART-MS. Parametric analyses for the system investigated Vapur suction flow rate, junction heating, puff duration, and coil power levels. Using this method, rapid chemical analyses of electronic cigarette aerosols from electronic liquids, spiked illicit drugs, and polymeric or plasticizer contaminants were performed in <30 s. The confined DART-MS method provides a streamlined tool for rapid screening of illicit and hazardous chemical profiles emitting from electronic cigarettes.
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry


Electronic cigarette, E-liquid, Vaping devices, Direct analysis in real time, Mass spectrometry, Drugs


Forbes, T. and Krauss, S. (2021), Confined DART-MS for rapid chemical analysis of electronic cigarette aerosols and spiked drugs, Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, [online],, (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created June 29, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022