A novel principle for an ion mirror design in time-of-flight mass spectrometry

Scherer, S.; Altwegg, K.; Balsiger, Hans; Fischer, J.; Jäckel, Annette; Korth, A.; Mildner, M.; Piazza, Daniele; Reme, H.; Wurz, Peter (2006). A novel principle for an ion mirror design in time-of-flight mass spectrometry. International journal of mass spectrometry, 251(1), pp. 73-81. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ijms.2006.01.025

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A novel design for a gridless two-stage ion mirror, or reflectron, for time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) will be presented. The developmentof this novel design was driven by the stringent engineering requirements for the ion mirror’s utilization by the reflectron time-of-flight (RTOF)sensor in the Rosetta orbiter spectrometer for ion and neutral analysis (ROSINA) instrument package of the Rosetta cometary mission launchedby the European Space Agency in March 2004.The reflectron consists of ceramic and titanium alloy components joined by brazing and welding processes. The device serves as both themechanical structure and as an ultra-high-vacuum (UHV) enclosure for the TOFMS system. The electrostatic fields of the reflectron are generatedalong two individually adjustable sections of a resistor helix applied to the inner surface of a ceramic cylinder. This design allows for increasedhomogeneity of the electrostatic fields, and minimizes fringe fields close to the cylindrical boundary of the reflectron structure. Thus, the usableinner diameter of ion flight path for a given outer diameter is maximized; a feature required by spacecraft constraints. An additional electrostaticlens in front of the reflectron allows the geometrical alteration of the shape of the ion beam, and its direction with regard to the ion optical axis.This makes it possible to switch the operation of the TOFMS system between a single-reflection and a triple-reflection mode, the latter using anadditional ion mirror. Typically, mass resolutions of up to 5000 at full width at half maximum (FWHM) have been achieved in the triple-reflectionmode for an overall sensor dimension of 1 m. Experimental results in the single-reflection mode and in the triple-reflection mode will be presented.Environmental constraints for space applications will also be discussed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Other Institutions > Emeriti, Faculty of Science
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Altwegg, Kathrin; Balsiger, Hans; Jäckel, Annette; Piazza, Daniele and Wurz, Peter


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering








Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2021 15:42

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 15:42

Publisher DOI:






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