A team of researchers from Purdue University and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed a new method of coating carbon nanotubes that reduce the amount of voltage required, sharpens the signal and was able to capture more delicate molecules than previous methods.
During the study, the team developed a new an analysis method called PaperSpray™ ionization. This new technique uses a sample that is gathered by wiping an object with a special solvent to take the residue from the object’s surface. Once the residue is collected, a triangle is cut out of the paper and placed where voltage is applied to a mass spectrometer. The voltage generates an electric field that creates fine droplets of ionized molecules that are released and gathered into the mass spectrometer for analysis. Using this new technique, the team has found that the nanotubes mimic a tiny antenna and can create a strong electric field from a very small voltage.