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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2008 Feb;19(2):173-89. Epub 2007 Nov 1.

Evolution of instrumentation for the study of gas-phase ion/ion chemistry via mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47909-1393, USA.


The scope of gas-phase ion/ion chemistry accessible to mass spectrometry is largely defined by the available tools. Due to the development of novel instrumentation, a wide range of reaction phenomenologies has been noted, many of which have been studied extensively and exploited for analytical applications. This perspective presents the development of mass spectrometry-based instrumentation for the study of the gas-phase ion/ion chemistry in which at least one of the reactants is multiply charged. The instrument evolution is presented within the context of three essential elements required for any ion/ion reaction study: the ionization source(s), the reaction vessel or environment, and the mass analyzer. Ionization source arrangements have included source combinations that allow for reactions between multiply charged ions of one polarity and singly charged ions of opposite polarity, arrangements that enable the study of reactions of multiply charged ions of opposite polarity and, most recently, arrangements that allow for ion formation from more than two ion sources. Gas-phase ion/ion reaction studies have been performed at near atmospheric pressure in flow reactor designs and within electrodynamic ion traps operated in the mTorr range. With ion trap as a reaction vessel, ionization and reaction processes can be independently optimized and ion/ion reactions can be implemented within the context of MSn experiments. Spatial separation of the reaction vessel from the mass analyzer allows for the use of any form of mass analysis in conjunction with ion/ion reactions. Time-of-flight mass analysis, for example, has provided significant improvements in mass analysis figures of merit relative to mass filters and ion traps.

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