Short Course on Ion Mobility Spectrometry


  • Brian H. Clowers, Ph.D. — Washington State University

  • Maggie Tam, Ph.D. — Canada Border Services Agency

The short course for the 2018 ISIMS will be held on the Saturday and Sunday before the start of the conference. Advanced registration is required and a brief outline along with a series of sample slides can be found below. If further information is required, please contact Dr. Brian Clowers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The short course is suitable for individuals' varying levels of IMS experience including those who are new to the IMS field. All efforts will be made to accommodate the interests of the attendees with topics ranging from IMS fundamentals to a wide array of applications. In addition to the practical perspectives provided during the course, a unique aspect of the experience is the inclusion of hands-on exercises with modern IMS equipment. Students will have the opportunity to perform actual IMS experiments followed by a discussion of results and methods of interpretation. Finally, the 2018 ISIMS short course will also include a Master Class session on Sunday. The focus of the Master Class will be on ionization, gating and modelling..

Dates and Location

Saturday, July 21 and Sunday July 22, 2018, Marriott Downtown Hotel, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


  • History of Ion Mobility Spectrometry
  • Operating Principles of Ion Mobility Spectrometry
  • Applications of Ion Mobility Spectrometry
  • Practical exercises through hands-on demonstrations with stand-alone instrumentation from Environics Oy, Nutech, Scintrex Trace and Smiths Detection.
  • Master Class: "Ionization, Gating and Modelling" – Ionization and the subsequent injection of the created ions are perhaps the most important aspects of ion mobility spectrometry, which is also applicable to mass spectrometry. In this Master Class, we shall first explore some basic theory of ion mobility operation to understand the reasons for the importance of ionization and ion injection, followed by a discussion on the theory and intricacies of ionization sources (traditional and novel) and combining them with different ion shutter methods.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the principles and operation of linear gradient ion mobility, differential mobility spectrometry, aspirator and dynamic field instruments
  • Describe and specify the instrument attributes associated with hyphenated mobility systems
  • Through practical exercises, analyze and interpret ion mobility spectra; and evaluate the effect of changes in the operational parameters of an ion mobility spectrometry experiment

Example Slides (pdf)

Tentative Schedule:


Saturday Topic
7:30 Breakfast
8:00 Registration and Welcome
8:15 History of Ion Mobility Spectrometry
9:00 Overview on Operating Principles of Ion Mobility Spectrometry
9:45 Operating Principles: Ionization Sources
10:15 Break
10:45 Operating Principles: Ion Chemistry
11:30 Fundamental Considerations: Collisional Theory
12:15 Lunch
13:15 Operating Principle: Approaches to Measuring Mobility
14:00 Hybrid Instrumentation
14:45 Applications of Ion Mobility Spectrometry: Security Applications
15:15 Break
15:45 Applications of Ion Mobility Spectrometry: Security Applications (continued)
16:15 Applications of Ion Mobility Spectrometry: Biomolecular Challenges
17:00 Applications of Ion Mobility Spectrometry: 'Omics
17:45 Question and Answer Session
18:00 Adjourn


Time SundayTopic
7:30 Breakfast
8:00 Discussion on Saturday topics
8:15 Master Class, Ionization, Gating and Modelling
9:15 Break
9:30 Master Class, Ionization, Gating and Modelling
10:30 Break
11:00 Instrument Hands-on demonstration
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Instrument Hands-on demonstration
14:30 Course Evaluation and adjourn