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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 6;8(6):e66292. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066292. Print 2013.

Automatic sampling and analysis of organics and biomolecules by capillary action-supported contactless atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Department of Applied Chemistry, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


Contactless atmospheric pressure ionization (C-API) method has been recently developed for mass spectrometric analysis. A tapered capillary is used as both the sampling tube and spray emitter in C-API. No electric contact is required on the capillary tip during C-API mass spectrometric analysis. The simple design of the ionization method enables the automation of the C-API sampling system. In this study, we propose an automatic C-API sampling system consisting of a capillary (∼1 cm), an aluminium sample holder, and a movable XY stage for the mass spectrometric analysis of organics and biomolecules. The aluminium sample holder is controlled by the movable XY stage. The outlet of the C-API capillary is placed in front of the orifice of a mass spectrometer, whereas the sample well on the sample holder is moved underneath the capillary inlet. The sample droplet on the well can be readily infused into the C-API capillary through capillary action. When the sample solution reaches the capillary outlet, the sample spray is readily formed in the proximity of the mass spectrometer applied with a high electric field. The gas phase ions generated from the spray can be readily monitored by the mass spectrometer. We demonstrate that six samples can be analyzed in sequence within 3.5 min using this automatic C-API MS setup. Furthermore, the well containing the rinsing solvent is alternately arranged between the sample wells. Therefore, the C-API capillary could be readily flushed between runs. No carryover problems are observed during the analyses. The sample volume required for the C-API MS analysis is minimal, with less than 1 nL of the sample solution being sufficient for analysis. The feasibility of using this setup for quantitative analysis is also demonstrated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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