The paper reports the discovery of three new matrices for the matrix-assisted laser desorption of proteins. These new matrices (sinapinic, ferulic and caffeic acids) are cinnamic acid derivatives that have several practical advantages over the nicotinic acid matrices previously used. These materials form much less intense photochemically generated adduct peaks in the protein quasimolecular ion signal and the adduct peaks that are present are easier to resolve. These matrices produce intense protonated-molecule ions from all of the proteins (over 50) so far examined. These new matrices are also very stable in a vacuum, allowing for their convenient use in very high vacuum applications (e.g., Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry).