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Title: Elemental fluorine detection by dielectric barrier discharge coupled to nano-ESI mass spectrometry for non-targeted analysis of fluorinated compounds
The growing use of fluorochemicals has elevated the need for non-targeted detection of unknown fluorinated compounds and transformation products. Elemental mass spectrometry coupled to chromatography offers a facile approach for such analyses by using fluorine as an elemental tag. However, efficient ionization of fluorine has been an ongoing challenge. Here, we demonstrate a novel atmospheric-pressure elemental ionization method where fluorinated compounds separated by GC are converted to Na2F+ for non-targeted detection. The compounds are first introduced into a helium dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) for breakdown. The plasma products are subsequently ionized by interaction with a nano-ESI plume of sodium-containing aqueous electrolytes. Our studies point to HF as the main plasma product contributing to Na2F+ formation. Moreover, the results reveal that Na2F+ is largely formed by the ion-neutral reaction between HF and Na2A(NaA)n+, gas-phase reagent ions produced by nano-ESI where A represents the anion of the electrolyte. Near-uniform fluorine response factors are obtained for a wide range of compounds, highlighting good efficiency of HF formation by DBD regardless of chemical structure of the compounds. Detection limits of 3.5 to 19.4 pg fluorine on-column are obtained using the reported GC-DBD-nano-ESI-MS. As an example of non-targeted screening, extractions from oil-and-water-repellent fabrics are analyzed more » via monitoring Na2F+, resulting in detection of a fluorinated compound on a clothing item. Notably, facile switching of the ion source to atmospheric-pressure chemical ionization with the exact same chromatographic method allows identification of the detected compound at the flagged retention time. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1904835
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10169161
Journal Name:
Analytical Chemistry
ISSN:
0003-2700
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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