Post-source decay in the analysis of polystyrene by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry
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- Goldschmidt, R.J., Wetzel, S.J., Blair, W.R. et al. J. Am. Soc. Spectrom. (2000) 11: 1095. doi:10.1016/S1044-0305(00)00177-X
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Various secondary series are observed in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectra of polystyrene. The number and positions of the series depend on the choice of matrix and added cation. For a given treatment, series observed in linear mode are not necessarily observed in reflectron mode, and vice versa. Post-source decay analysis was used to determine that the secondary series arise at least in part from formation and decay of adducts of polystyrene with matrix species. There is some treatment-to-treatment variation, but adduct formation and decay were observed for all tested treatments. The multiplicity of secondary series makes it unclear whether post-source decay occurs for the main series (polystyrene + cation)+ ions under the conditions normally used for polystyrene analysis. Such ions do undergo post-source decay at laser fluences greater than normally used. Although only polystyrene was investigated in this work, other polymers may also produce adduct and decay series in MALDI analysis. Their presence can mask the presence of minor components in a sample, but at least as observed here, do not have a strong influence on molecular mass determinations.