In MALDI TOF MS analysis, complicated mass spectra can usually be recorded for polymers with high affinities to protons and alkali metal ions. For these polymers, protonated ions and sodium and potassium adducts can often be formed concomitantly. By distributing these ions into three separate spectra of protonated ions, sodium adducts, and potassium adducts, significantly simplified spectra can be acquired. Mass spectra consisting of only sodium or potassium adducts can often be obtained by simply adding sodium salt and potassium salt, respectively. We report here a method to selectively generate protonated ions. A polyethylene glycol (PEG) sample with amino end groups was selected as the model polymer and α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA) as the matrix. Octadecylamine (ODA) or a mixture of a tetrabutylammonium (TBA) salt and an ammonium salt was used as the co-matrix to inhibit the release of sodium and potassium ions and their related adducts into the MALDI gas phase plume. By depositing the polymer sample on top of a preloaded layer of CHCA with a co-matrix, the generation of Na+ and K+ adducts is suppressed, while [ODA + H]+ and NH4+ released from the preloaded matrix layer can serve as protonation reagents to protonate the polymer molecules via proton transfer reactions. It is clearly demonstrated that disentangling a complex mass spectrum filled densely with various series of ions into three separate spectra, with each one consisting of only one type of ions, allows unambiguous identification of mass peaks and greatly helps the interpretation of MS results.
|Tijdschrift||Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||12|
|Status||Gepubliceerd - 7 dec. 2022|
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