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Anal Chem. 2008 Sep 1;80(17):6773-8. doi: 10.1021/ac8001935. Epub 2008 Jul 26.

Development and characterization of an ionization technique for analysis of biological macromolecules: liquid matrix-assisted laser desorption electrospray ionization.

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W.M. Keck FT-ICR Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


We have developed an atmospheric pressure ionization technique called liquid matrix-assisted laser desorption electrospray ionization (liq-MALDESI) for the generation of multiply charged ions by laser desorption from liquid samples deposited onto a stainless steel sample target biased at a high potential. This variant of our previously reported MALDESI source does not utilize an ESI emitter to postionize neutrals. Conversely, we report desorption and ionization from a macroscopic charged droplet. We demonstrate high mass resolving power single-acquisition FT-ICR-MS analysis of peptides and proteins ranging from 1 to 8.6 kDa at atmospheric pressure. The liquid sample acts as a macroscopic charged droplet similar to those generated by electrospray ionization, whereby laser irradiation desorbs analyte from organic matrix containing charged droplets generating multiply charged ions. We have observed a singly charged radical cation of an electrochemically active species indicating oxidation occurs for analytes and therefore water; the latter would play a key role in the mechanism of ionization. Moreover, we demonstrate an increase in ion abundance and a concurrent decrease in surface tension with an increase in the applied potential.

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