Chemically modified silicon nanoparticles were applied for the laser desorption/negative ionization of small acids. A series of substituted sulfonic acids and fatty acids was studied. Compared to desorption ionization on porous silicon (DIOS) and other matrix-less laser desorption/ionization techniques, silicon nanoparticle-assisted laser desorption/ionization (SPALDI) mass spectrometry allows for the analysis of acids in the negative ion mode without the observation of multimers or cation adducts. Using SPALDI, detection limits of many acids reached levels down to 50 pmol/µl. SPALDI of fatty acids with unmodified silicon nanoparticles was compared to SPALDI using the fluoroalkyl silylated silicon powder, with the unmodified particles showing better sensitivity for fatty acids, but with more low-mass background due to impurities and surfactants in the untreated silicon powder. The fatty acids exhibited a size-dependent response in both SPALDI and unmodified SPALDI, showing a signal intensity increase with the chain length of the fatty acids (C12-C18), leveling off at chain lengths of C18-C22. The size effect may be due to the crystallization of long chain fatty acids on the silicon. This hypothesis was further explored and supported by SPALDI of several, similar sized, unsaturated fatty acids with various crystallinities. Fatty acids in milk lipids and tick nymph samples were directly detected and their concentration ratios were determined by SPALDI mass spectrometry without complicated and time-consuming purification and esterification required in the traditional analysis of fatty acids by gas chromatography (GC). These results suggest that SPALDI mass spectrometry has the potential application in fast screening for small acids in crude samples with minimal sample preparation.