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J Phys Chem B. 2005 Dec 8;109(48):22947-57.

Molecular dynamics model of ultraviolet matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization including ionization processes.

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Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.


A molecular dynamics model of UV-MALDI including ionization processes is presented. In addition to the previously described breathing sphere approach developed for simulation of laser ablation/desorption of molecular systems, it includes radiative and nonradiative decay, exciton hopping, two pooling processes, and electron capture. The results confirm the main conclusions of the continuum model of Knochenmuss, Anal. Chem. 2003, 75, 2199, but provide a much more detailed description of the interaction between ablation/desorption and ionization processes in the critical early time regime. Both desorption and ablation regimes generate free ions, and yields are in accordance with experiment. The first molecular ions are emitted at high velocities shortly before neutral desorption begins, because of surface charging caused by electron escape from the top of the sample. Later ions are entrained and thermalized in the plume of neutral molecules and clusters. Clusters are found to be stable on a nanosecond time scale, so the ions in them will be released only slowly, if at all. Exciton hopping rate and the mean radius for ion recombination are shown to be key parameters that can have a significant effect on net ion yield.

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