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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2002;16(3):208-11.

Characterization of low molecular weight hydrocarbon oligomers by laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry using a solvent-free sample preparation method.

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Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Germany.


A new solvent-free sample preparation method using silver trifluoroacetate (AgTFA) was developed for the analysis of low molecular weight paraffins and microcrystalline waxes by laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LDI-TOFMS). Experiments show that spectral quality can be enhanced by dispersing AgTFA directly in liquid paraffins without the use of additional solvents. This preparation mixture is applied directly to the MALDI probe. Solid waxes could be examined by melting prior to analysis. The method also provides sufficiently reproducible spectra that peak area ratios between mono- and bicyclic alkane peaks indicated variations in the cycloalkane content of paraffin samples. Dehydrogenation of hydrocarbons observed during the desorption/ionization process was studied by analysis of alkane standards.


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