Analytical chemistry

3D-printed paper spray ionization cartridge with fast wetting and continuous solvent supply features.

PMID 25409532


We report the development of a 3D-printed cartridge for paper spray ionization (PSI) that can be used almost immediately after solvent introduction in a dedicated reservoir and allows prolonged spray generation from a paper tip. The fast wetting feature described in this work is based on capillary action through paper and movement of fluid between paper and the cartridge material (polylactic acid, PLA). The influence of solvent composition, PLA conditioning of the cartridge with isopropanol, and solvent volume introduced into the reservoir have been investigated with relation to wetting time and the amount of solvent consumed for wetting. Spray has been demonstrated with this cartridge for tens of minutes, without any external pumping. It is shown that fast wetting and spray generation can easily be achieved using a number of solvent mixtures commonly used for PSI. The PSI cartridge was applied to the analysis of lidocaine from a paper tip using different solvent mixtures, and to the analysis of lidocaine from a serum sample. Finally, a demonstration of online paper chromatography-mass spectrometry is given.