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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2006 Jan;17(1):75-80. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

An open design microfabricated nib-like nanoelectrospray emitter tip on a conducting silicon substrate for the application of the ionization voltage.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Chimie Organique et MacromolĂ©culaire, UniversitĂ© des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France.


This paper describes a novel emitter tip having the shape of a nib and based on an open structure for nano-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (nanoESI-MS). The nib structure is fabricated with standard lithography techniques using SU-8, an epoxy-based negative photoresist. The tip is comprised of a reservoir, a capillary slot and a point-like feature, and is fabricated on a silicon wafer. We present here a novel scheme for interfacing such nib tips to MS by applying the ionization voltage directly onto the semi-conductor support. The silicon support is in direct contact with the liquid to be analyzed at the reservoir and microchannel level, thus allowing easy use in ESI-MS. This scheme is especially advantageous for automated analysis as the manual step of positioning a metallic wire into the reservoir is avoided. In addition, the analysis performance was enhanced compared with the former scheme, as demonstrated by the tests of standard peptides (gramicidin S, Glu-fibrinopeptide B). The limit of detection was determined to be lower than 10(-2) microM. Due to their enhanced performance, these microfabricated sources might be of great interest for analysis requiring very high sensitivity, such as proteomics analysis using nanoESI-MS.

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