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Anal Chem. 2008 Oct 15;80(20):7778-85. doi: 10.1021/ac801198g. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

Direct probe-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry of cross-linked copolymers and copolymer blends.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325, USA.


Complex copolymers are heated to slowly increasing temperatures on a direct probe (DP) inside the plasma of the atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) source of a quadrupole ion trap. Slow heating allows for temporal separation of the thermal degradation products according to the stabilities of the bonds being cleaved. The products released from the DP are identified in situ by APCI mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry. DP-APCI experiments on amphiphilic copolymers provide conclusive information about the nature of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic components present and can readily distinguish between copolymers with different comonomer compositions as well as between cross-linked copolymers and copolymer blends with similar physical properties. The dependence of DP-APCI mass spectra on temperature additionally reveals information about the thermal stability of the different domains within a copolymer.

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