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Anal Chem. 2006 Dec 15;78(24):8200-6.

Gas-phase chiral separations by ion mobility spectrometry.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Center for Multiphase Environmental Research, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA.


This article introduces the concept of chiral ion mobility spectrometry (CIMS) and presents examples demonstrating the gas-phase separation of enantiomers of a wide range of racemates including pharmaceuticals, amino acids, and carbohydrates. CIMS is similar to traditional ion mobility spectrometry, where gas-phase ions, when subjected to a potential gradient, are separated at atmospheric pressure due to differences in their shapes and sizes. In addition to size and shape, CIMS separates ions based on their stereospecific interaction with a chiral gas. In order to achieve chiral discrimination by CIMS, an asymmetric environment was provided by doping the drift gas with a volatile chiral reagent. In this study (S)-(+)-2-butanol was used as a chiral modifier to demonstrate enantiomeric separations of atenolol, serine, methionine, threonine, methyl alpha-glucopyranoside, glucose, penicillamine, valinol, phenylalanine, and tryptophan from their respective racemic mixtures.

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