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Title: Resolving Isomers of Star-Branched Poly(Ethylene Glycols) by IMS-MS Using Multiply Charged Ions
Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) mass spectrometry (MS) centers on the ability to separate gaseous structures by size, charge, shape, and followed by mass-to-charge (m/z). For oligomeric structures, improved separation is hypothesized to be related to the ability to extend structures through repulsive forces between cations electrostatically bonded to the oligomers. Here we show the ability to separate differently branched multiply charged ions of star-branched poly(ethylene glycol) oligomers (up to 2000 Da) regardless of whether formed by electrospray ionization (ESI) charged solution droplets or from charged solid particles produced directly from a surface by matrix-assisted ionization. Detailed structural characterization of isomers of the star-branched compositions was first established using a home-built high-resolution ESI IMS-MS instrument. The doubly charged ions have well-resolved drift times, achieving separation of isomers and also allowing differentiation of star-branched versus linear oligomers. An IMS-MS “snapshot” approach allows visualization of architectural dispersity and (im)purity of samples in a straightforward manner. Analyses capabilities are shown for different cations and ionization methods using commercially available traveling wave IMS-MS instruments. Analyses directly from surfaces using the new ionization processes are, because of the multiply charging, not only associated with the benefits of improved gas-phase separations, relative to that of ions produced by matrix-assisted laser more » desorption/ionization, but also provide the potential for spatially resolved measurements relative to ESI and other ionization methods. « less
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Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
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National Science Foundation
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