OPEN Scientific reports | 15 Jul 2016
K Shiba and G Yoshikawa
Each gas molecule has its own molecular weight, while such a microscopic characteristic is generally inaccessible, and thus, it is measured indirectly through e.g. ionization in conventional mass analysis. Here, we present a novel approach to the direct measurement of molecular weight through a nanoarchitectonic combination of aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and mechanics, transducing microscopic events into macroscopic phenomena. It is confirmed that this approach can provide molecular weight of virtually any gas or vaporizable liquid sample in real-time without ionization. Demonstrations through analytical calculations, numerical simulations, and experiments verify the validity and versatility of the novel mass analysis realized by a simple setup with a flexible object (e.g. with a bare cantilever and even with a business card) placed in a laminar jet. Owing to its unique and simple working principle, this aero-thermo-dynamic mass analysis (AMA) can be integrated into various analytical devices, production lines, and consumer mobile platforms, opening new chapters in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, mechanics, and mass analysis.
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