Contemporary ion mobility spectrometry applications and future trends towards environmental, health and food research: A review

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Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) has gained relevance in the field of analytical techniques over the past decades. If compared with well-established techniques like mass spectrometry or infrared spectroscopy, IMS is considerably less developed or employed in specific fields but presents promising results and a substantial margin for improvements. Its outstanding sensitivity and selectivity, analytical flexibility, instrumental versatility and almost real-time results capacity have contributed to elevate IMS among the main analytical techniques for the detection of volatile organic compounds. Due to its growth potential, it is mandatory to assess in which scientific fields IMS has played a relevant role in the past years of academic research and understand in which areas it can become equally important in the near future. For this purpose, hundreds of scientific works from the past ten years were addressed and the most relevant were reviewed in this work. Three main categories of IMS applications were defined to group the reviewed articles: Environmental and Safety Research, Health Research and Food Research. In addition, some original studies were specifically developed for this review paper, to act as elucidative examples. The working principle of the IMS is included for clarification purposes. A glossary of all the mentioned compounds was also included. Throughout the text, it is clear how relevant IMS has become and how diverse its applicability can be, ranging from simpler topics like fraud detection to more complex ones like pathologies diagnosis. It is safe to say that IMS has been, step by step, gaining relevance as an analytical technique and its potential for supporting many diverse scientific fields is evident.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117012
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Analytical techniques
  • Environmental and safety research
  • Food research
  • Health research
  • Ion mobility spectrometry
  • Volatile organic compounds


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