Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM

On-line laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry of matrix-coated aerosols.

PMID 15378715


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) was used for the on-line analysis of single particles. An aerosol was generated at atmospheric pressure and particles were introduced into a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer through a single-stage differentially pumped capillary inlet. Prior to entering the mass spectrometer, a matrix was added to the particles using a heated saturator and condenser. A liquid matrix, 3-nitrobenzyl alcohol (NBA), and a solid matrix, picolinic acid (PA), were used. Particles were ablated with a 351 nm excimer laser and the resulting ions were mass-separated in a two-stage reflectron TOF mass spectrometer. Aerosol particles containing the biomolecules erythromycin and gramicidin S were analyzed with and without the matrix addition step. The addition of NBA to the particles resulted in mass spectra that contained an intact molecular ion mass peak. In contrast, PA-coated particles did not yield molecular ion peaks from matrix-coated particles.

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