Publication details

Comparison of Cu+, Ag+, and Au+ Ions as Ionization Agents of Volatile Organic Compounds at Subatmospheric Pressure

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords mass spectrometry; volatile organic compounds; laser ionization; gas phase reactions
Description Ionization of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by coinage metal ions (Cu+, Ag+, and Au+) generated by laser desorption and ionization (LDI) of a metal nanolayer in subatmospheric conditions is explored. The study was performed in a commercial subatmospheric dual MALDI/ESI ion source. Five compounds representing different VOC classes were chosen for a detailed study of the metal ionization mechanism: ethanol, acetone, acetic acid, xylene, and cyclohexane. In the gas phase, ion molecular complexes of all three metal ions were formed, typically with two ligand molecules. The successful detection of the metal complexes with VOCs strongly depended on the applied voltages across the ion source, minimizing the in-source fragmentation. The employed orbital trap with ultrahigh resolving power and sub-parts-per-million mass accuracy allowed unambiguous identification of the formed complexes based on their molecular formulas. The detection limits of the studied compounds in the gas were in the range 0.1-1.4 nmol/L. Compared to Cu+ and Ag+ ions, Au+ ions exhibited the highest reactivity, often complicating spectra by side products of reactions. On the other hand, they also allowed detecting saturated hydrocarbons, which did not produce any signals with Ag+ and Cu+.
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