Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy, 66(6), p. 399-412 (2011); doi:10.1016/j.sab.2011.05.008
The coupling of glow discharges (GDs) as ion sources for time of flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) chemical analysis has been extensively investigated during the last two decades. However, important instrumental advances in GD-TOFMS as well as demonstration of unique analytical applications (particularly quasi-simultaneous production of elemental, structural and molecular information from organics in gas phase, multielemental depth profile analysis with high depth resolution of layered materials, direct speciation in solid samples and identification of polymers) are rocketing in the last years. In the present review, instrumental developments and recent applications of GD-TOFMS are presented, both for the elemental and molecular direct solid analyses of materials and for analytes in gaseous phase (including permanent gases, vaporized compounds and GD-TOFMS uses as detector for gas chromatography). Also, GD-TOFMS analytical potential in important fields of modern research is critically discussed.