A straightforward procedure for direct mass spectrometric (MS) analysis of spots from thin layer chromatography (TLC) plates, without the need of an external ion source, was developed using the aluminum plate backing as spray tip. The spots were cut out shaped as a tip with a 60° angle, mounted in front of the MS orifice, and after addition of a spray solvent spectra were obtained immediately. A high-resolution time-of-flight MS was used since the method is of particular interest for rapid identification or confirmation of spots from TLC plates. The practical benefits of this technique were demonstrated by detection of by-products of organic reactions, by identification of degradation products, and by accurate confirmation of spots when UV filters in sunscreens were analyzed by TLC. Employing the described method TLC spots can be evaluated fast without the need of an external ion source or devices for analyte transfer from TLC to MS, only a basic MS instrument and a high-voltage power supply is required.
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Published in the topical collection Euroanalysis XVII (The European Conference on Analytical Chemistry) with guest editor Ewa Bulska.
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Himmelsbach, M., Waser, M. & Klampfl, C.W. Thin layer chromatography–spray mass spectrometry: a method for easy identification of synthesis products and UV filters from TLC aluminum foils. Anal Bioanal Chem 406, 3647–3656 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-014-7639-5