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Anal Chem. 2003 May 1;75(9):2188-91.

Capillary electrophoresis to mass spectrometry interface using a porous junction.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas at Austin, 78712, USA.


A new capillary electrophoresis interface to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (CE/ESI-MS) is introduced in which the electrical connection to the CE capillary outlet/ESI electrode is achieved by transfer of small ions related to the background electrolyte (BGE) through a porous section near the CE capillary outlet. In this design, only a small section of the capillary wall is made porous. The porous section is created by first thinning a small section of the capillary wall by drilling a well into it and then etching the remaining thin wall porous. This design has two advantages over previous designs (in which the whole circumference of the capillary was made porous): first, the capillary interface is more robust because only a small section of it is made porous, and therefore, no liquid junction is needed to secure the porous section. The electrical connection is achieved simply by inserting the capillary outlet containing the porous junction into the existing ESI needle and filling the needle with the BGE. Second, the time required to make the fused silica porous is reduced from approximately 1 h to a few minutes. In addition, there is no dead volume associated with the porous design, and because the actual metal/liquid contact occurs outside of the CE capillary, bubble formation due to redox reactions of water at the electrode does not affect CE/ESI-MS performance. The performance of this interface is demonstrated by the analyses of peptide and protein mixtures.


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