Owlstone’s technology offers extreme sensitivity and selectivity while being field reprogrammable, enabling constant evolution and improvement even after deployment.

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Owlstone’s Unique Technology Provides Chemical Detection for the 21st Century.

Owlstone technology utilizes a highly advanced variant of Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS). This new method of ultra fast chemical separation and detection exploits the unique properties of ionized products of the chemical sample. Every chemical has a unique spectral “fingerprint."

Our detection technology is delivered in compact configurations, has low power requirements and can be used wherever there is a need for a highly sensitive and selective method of detection. From homeland security to industrial safety we’re providing new generation detection solutions to leading systems manufacturers and systems integrators across a broad range of markets and applications.


How Does Owlstone Technology Work?

Owlstone technology is a variant of ion mobility spectrometry – a method of distinguishing charged gaseous molecules according to differences in the speed that they move through a buffer gas under the influence of an oscillating electric field.

After ionization, the VOC ions pass through channels across which an asymmetric RF field is applied. Under the first portion of the waveform, ions will drift in one direction at a velocity based on their individual mobility in that electric field. As the field polarity is reversed, the ions change direction and speed based on the new field conditions. Because the mobility of the ions during the two parts of the waveform is rarely equal, there is usually a net drift toward one of the electrodes. This net drift is corrected for by applying an additional DC voltage, known as the compensation field (CF), which focuses specific ions through the device to the detector.

The figure on the left shows three ions, all demonstrating different mobility behaviors under the influence of the electric field. The trajectories of two ions collide with the walls, however the trajectory of the third ion has the appropriate DC voltage applied, meaning it traverses the device. The Owlstone technology device scans these DC voltages, producing a compensation field spectrum for the transmission of all ions.

Why Choose Owlstone Technology?

  • Sensitive

    Typical limits of detection less than 10 parts per billion by volume

  • Selective

    The technology is highly specific and able to detect a broad range of chemical targets, even against complex backgrounds

  • Versatile

    The technology is reprogrammable to detect new target chemicals even after deployment

  • Portable

    The technology is incorporated into hand-held instrumentation for direct point-of-need applications

  • Easy-to-use

    Our instruments are highly autonomous and designed to be used by non-specialist operators

  • Fast response

    The technology performs chemical separations at microsecond timescales, providing high-resolution data for detection and identification on single second update rates

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