Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM

The use of isoprene as a novel dopant in negative ion atmospheric pressure photoionization mass spectrometry coupled to high-performance liquid chromatography.

PMID 26044270


As in the case with positive ion atmospheric pressure photoionization (PI-APPI), the addition of dopants significantly improves the sensitivity of negative ion APPI (NI-APPI). However, the research on dopant-assisted-NI-APPI has been quite limited compared to the studies on dopant-assisted PI-APPI. This work presents the potential of isoprene as a novel dopant for NI-APPI. Thirteen compounds, possessing suitable gas-phase ion energetic properties in order to make stable negative ions, were selected. Dopants were continuously introduced into a tee junction prior to the ion source through a fused-silica capillary, while analytes were directly injected into the same tee. Then both were mixed with the continuous solvent from high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), nebulized, and entered the source. The nebulized stream was analyzed by APPI tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry in the negative ion mode. The results obtained using isoprene were compared with those obtained by using toluene as a dopant and dopant-free NI-APPI. Isoprene enhanced the ionization intensities of the studied compounds, which were found to be comparable and, in some cases, more effective than toluene. The mechanisms leading to the observed set of negative analyte ions were also discussed. Because in NI-APPI, thermal electrons, which are produced during the photoionization of a dopant, are considered the main reagent ions, both isoprene and toluene promoted the ionization of analytes through the same mechanisms, as expected. Isoprene was shown to perform well as a novel dopant for NI-APPI. Isoprene has a high photoabsorption cross section in the VUV region; therefore, its photoionization leads to a highly effective production of thermal electrons, which further promotes the ionization of analytes. In addition, isoprene is environmentally benign and less toxic compared to currently used dopants.

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