MIMS oil-in-water monitor

We have developed a portable membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS) for detection and analysis of crude oil in sea water [1, 2]. It is based on a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) with mass range of 200 Da. Our MIMS instrument should soon complement the existing commercial UV fluorescence oil-in-water (OiW) monitors by being able to detect different types of oil from their corresponding mass spectra and to determine concentrations of toxic hydrocarbons in oil (e.g. BTX). This feature currently does not exist in commercial OiW monitors.

MIMS field setup for oil-in-water monitoring on the Flotta oil terminal, Orkney, North Sea.

Mass spectrum for type 1 North Sea crude oil (API 36) obtained in-field using Liverpool’s MIMS system.


1. B. Brkić, N. France and S. Taylor, Oil-in-water monitoring using membrane inlet mass spectrometry, Anal. Chem. 83, (16), pp. 6230-6236 (2011), highlighted in Chemical & Engineering News. PDF
2. B. Brkić, N. France, J. Sreekumar, K. Thabeth and S. Taylor, Oil-in-water monitoring in the North Sea using membrane inlet mass spectrometry, The 8th Harsh Environment Mass Spectrometry (HEMS) Workshop, St. Pete Beach, Florida, USA (September 2011).