JMS Special Feature: Super-atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry and its application to ultrafast online protein digestion analysis

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Education Article

  • Published: Nov 25, 2016
  • Channels: HPLC / Base Peak
thumbnail image: JMS Special Feature: Super-atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry and its application to ultrafast online protein digestion analysis

Ion source pressure plays a significant role in the process of ionization and the subsequent ion transmission inside a mass spectrometer.

Super-atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry and its application to ultrafast online protein digestion analysis

Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2016, 51, 396-411
Lee Chuin Chen, Satoshi Ninomiya and Kenzo Hiraoka

Abstract: Ion source pressure plays a significant role in the process of ionization and the subsequent ion transmission inside a mass spectrometer. Pressurizing the ion source to a gas pressure greater than atmospheric pressure is a relatively new approach that aims to further improve the performance of atmospheric pressure ionization sources. For example, under a super-atmospheric pressure environment, a stable electrospray can be sustained for liquid with high surface tension such as pure water, because of the suppression of electric discharge. Even for nano-electrospray ionization (nano-ESI), which is known to work with aqueous solution, its stability and sensitivity can also be enhanced, particularly in the negative mode when the ion source is pressurized. A brief review on the development of super-atmospheric pressure ion sources, including high-pressure electrospray, field desorption and superheated ESI, and the strategies to interface these ion sources to a mass spectrometer will be given. Using a recent ESI prototype with an operating temperature at 220 °C under 27 atm, we also demonstrate that it is possible to achieve an online Asp-specific protein digestion analysis in which the whole processes of digestion, ionization and MS acquisition could be completed on the order of a few seconds. This method is fast, and the reaction can even be monitored on a near-real-time basis.

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