Mass spectrometry & Instrumentation research has been undertaken at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics since the pioneering work of Professor Harry Leck in the 1960s. Prof Leck was responsible for much early development in vacuum science and technology in the UK. He was an author of the classic text book Pressure Measurement in Vacuum Systems as well as contributor to Dawson’s Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry and Its Applications (Chapter 6). A medal in his honour has been awarded by the UK Vacuum Symposium since 2015.
Since 1995 the group has been led by Prof Steve Taylor. The focus of the group’s research has turned towards performance improvement and miniaturisation of quadrupole mass spectrometers using micro-engineering MEMS techniques. Performance improvement of linear quadrupoles has been achieved through extensive high accuracy computer simulations. This work has led to several patents in quadrupole mass spectrometer technology and the foundation of a spin-out company Q-Technologies Ltd with the aim to commercialise miniature quadrupole analysers. Application areas for this work are in portable mass spectrometry for online process monitoring and gas analysis, medical and veterinary diagnosis (via patient breath analysis). Our portable membrane inlet mass spectrometry (MIMS) system was ruggedised then field tested for detection of crude oil at the North Sea oil terminal in Flotta (Orkney). We have also expanded our research to include linear ion trap (LIT) technology.