Ion trajectory simulations of axial ac dipolar excitation in the Orbitrap

Guangxiang Wu, Robert J. Noll, Wolfgang R. Plass, Qizhi Hu, Richard H. Perry, R. Graham Cooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The newly developed version of the multi-particle ion trajectory simulation program, ITSIM 6.0, was applied to simulate ac dipolar excitation of ion axial motion in the Orbitrap. The Orbitrap inner and outer electrodes were generated in AutoCAD, a 3D drawing program. The electrode geometry was imported into the 3D field solver COMSOL; the field array was then imported into ITSIM 6.0. Ion trajectories were calculated by solving Newton's equations using Runge-Kutta integration methods. Compared to the analytical solution, calculated radial components of the field at the device's "equator" (z = 0) were within 0.5% and calculated axial components midway between the inner and outer electrodes were within 0.2%. The experiments simulated here involved the control of axial motion of ions in the Orbitrap by the application of dipolar ac signals to the split outer electrodes, as described in a recently published paper from this laboratory [Hu et al., J. Phys. Chem. A 110 (2006) 2682]. In these experiments, ac signal was applied at the axial resonant frequency of a selected ion. Axial excitation and eventual ion ejection resulted when the ac was in phase with, i.e., had 0° phase relative to ion axial motion. De-excitation of ion axial motion until the ions were at z = 0 and at rest with respect to the z-axis resulted if the applied ac was out of phase with ion motion, with re-excitation of ion axial motion occurring if the dipolar ac was continued beyond this point. Both de-excitation and re-excitation could be achieved mass-selectively and depended on the amplitude and duration (number of cycles) of the applied ac. The effects of ac amplitude, frequency, phase relative to ion motion, and bandwidth of applied waveform were simulated. All simulation results were compared directly with the experimental data and good agreement was observed. Such ion motion control experiments and their simulation provide the possibility to improve Orbitrap performance and to develop tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) capabilities inside the Orbitrap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dipolar ac
  • Excitation
  • Field solver
  • Fourier transform
  • Harmonic motion
  • Ion trajectory simulation
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Orbitrap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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