The ablated particle count and size distribution of four solid matrix materials commonly used for matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) were measured with a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) combined with a light scattering aerodynamic particle sizer (APS). The two particle sizing instruments allowed size measurements in the range from 10 nm to 20 μm. The four solid matrixes investigated were 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB), 4-nitroaniline (NA), α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA), and sinapic acid (SA). A thin film of the matrix was deposited on a stainless steel target using the dried droplet method and was irradiated with a 337 nm nitrogen laser at atmospheric pressure. The target was rotated during the measurement. A large number of nanoparticles were produced, and average particle diameters ranged from 40 to 170 nm depending on the matrix and the laser fluence. These particles are attributed to agglomeration of smaller particles and clusters and/or hydrodynamic sputtering of melted matrix. A coarse particle component of the distribution was observed with diameters between 500 nm and 2 μm. The coarse particles were significantly lower in number but had a total mass that was comparable to that of the nanoparticles. The coarse particles are attributed to matrix melting and spallation. Two of the compounds, CHCA and SA, had a third particle size distribution component in the range of 10 to 30 nm, which is attributed to the direct ejection of clusters.
We have used an infrared laser to ablate materials under ambient conditions that were captured in solvent droplets. The droplets were either deposited on a MALDI target for off-line analysis by MALDI time-of-flight mass spectrometry or flow-injected into a nanoelectrospray source of an ion trap mass spectrometer. An infrared optical parametric oscillator (OPO) laser system at 2.94 μm wavelength and approximately 1 mJ pulse energy was focused onto samples for ablation at atmospheric pressure. The ablated material was captured in a solvent droplet 1–2 mm in diameter that was suspended from a silica capillary a few millimeters above the sample target. Once the sample was transferred to the droplet by ablation, the droplet was deposited on a MALDI target. A saturated matrix solution was added to the deposited sample, or in some cases, the suspended capture droplet contained the matrix. Peptide and protein standards were used to assess the effects of the number of IR laser ablation shots, sample to droplet distance, capture droplet size, droplet solvent, and laser pulse energy. Droplet collected samples were also injected into a nanoelectrospray source of an ion trap mass spectrometer with a 500 nL injection loop. It is estimated that pmol quantities of material were transferred to the droplet with an efficiency of approximately 1%. The direct analysis of biological fluids for off-line MALDI and electrospray was demonstrated with blood, milk, and egg. The implications of this IR ablation sample transfer approach for ambient imaging are discussed.
Lee, Soper, and Murray Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2011, 25, 693–699
We report the development of a solid-phase proteolytic digestion and continuous deposition microfluidic chip platform for low volume fraction collection and off-line matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. Tryptic peptides were formed in an on-chip bioreactor and continuously deposited onto a MALDI target plate using a motor-driven xyz stage. The bioreactor consisted of a 4cmT200mmT50mm microfluidic channel with covalently immobilized trypsin on an array of 50mm diameter micropost structures with a 50 mm edge-to-edge inter-post spacing. A 50 mm i.d. capillary tube was directly attached to the end of the bioreactor for continuous sample deposition. The MALDI target plate was modified by spin-coating a nitrocellulose solution containing a MALDI matrix on the surface prior to effluent deposition. Protein molecular weight standards were used for evaluating the performance of the digestion and continuous deposition system. Serpentine sample traces 200 mm wide were obtained with a 30 fmol/mm quantity deposition rate and a 3.3 nL/mm volumetric deposition rate.
J. Dong, Y. H. Rezenom, and K. K. Murray, “Aerosol Desorption Electrospray Ionization,” Presented at the 55th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry, June 4, 2007, Indianapolis, Indiana, Ambient Ionization I, MP 006.