flight tube

A generic name given to the housing that contains a series of optical components that focus ions onto the detector of a time-of-flight (TOF) mass analyzer. There are basically two different kinds of flight tubes that are used in commercial TOF mass analyzers. One is the orthogonal design, where the flight tube is positioned at right angles to the sampled ion beam, and the other, the axial design, where the flight tube is in the same axis as the ion beam. In both designs, all ions are sampled through the interface region, but instead of being focused into the mass filter in the conventional sequential way, packets (groups) of ions are electrostatically injected into the flight tube at exactly the same time.