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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2002;16(7):670-5.

Two-dimensional separations with electrospray ionization ambient pressure high-resolution ion mobility spectrometry/quadrupole mass spectrometry.

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Washington State University, Chemistry Department, Pullman, WA 99164-4630, USA.


The coupling of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) instruments with mass spectrometers has been described since early in IMS development, most commonly with quadrupole mass analyzers. The recent development of IMS with time-of-flight (TOF) instruments has demonstrated that the time compatibility (IMS milliseconds and TOFMS microseconds) of the two techniques enables rapid two-dimensional separations to be performed, theoretically in the order of seconds for a complete analysis. This study presents a unique way to operate a traditional IMS/QMS system to attain separations similar to those achieved with IMS/TOF. For this new approach, the quadrupole was slowly scanned in the single-ion monitoring mode while IMS spectra were continually embedded in each m/z step. In this way, two-dimensional separations (IMS drift times and m/z) were obtained using the traditional IMS/QMS arrangement. An example of a five amino acid separation (quadrupole scan of 40 m/z values at a rate of approximately 7 steps/min) led to a complete two-dimensional analysis within 6 min, comparable to rapid chromatographic separations with mass spectrometry. Proposed approaches to reduce the analysis time are discussed and a reduction in the analysis time to less than 1 min is feasible when the IMS/QMS separation conditions are optimized.

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