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Anal Chem. 2007 Jul 15;79(14):5364-72. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Advanced liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry interface based on electron ionization.

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  • 1Istituto di Scienze Chimiche F. Bruner, Universit√† di Urbino Carlo Bo, 61029 Urbino, Italy. acappiello@uniurb.it


Major progress in interfacing liquid chromatography and electron ionization mass spectrometry is presented. The minimalism of the first prototype, called the Direct-EI interface, has been widely refined, improved, and applied to modern instrumentation. The simple interfacing principle is based on the straight connection between a nanoHPLC system and a mass spectrometer equipped with an EI source forming a solid and reliable unicum resembling the immediacy and straightforwardness of GC/MS. The interface shows a superior performance in the analysis of small-medium molecular weight compounds, especially when compared to its predecessors, and a unique trait that excels particularly in the following aspects: (1) It delivers high-quality, fully library matchable mass spectra of most sub-1 kDa molecules amenable by HPLC. (2) It is a chemical ionization free interface (unless operated intentionally) with accurate reproduction of the expected isotope ion abundances. (3) Response is never influenced by matrix components in the sample or in the mobile phase (nonvolatile salts are also well accepted). A deep evaluation of these aspects is presented and discussed in detail. Other characteristics of the interface performance such as limits of detections, range of linear response, and intra- and interday signal stability were also considered. The usefulness of the interface has been tested in a few real-world applications where matrix components played a detrimental role with other LC/MS techniques.

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