Exploring fluorescence and fragmentation of ions produced by electrospray ionization in ultrahigh vacuum
Fluorescence spectroscopy and mass spectrometry have been extensively used for characterization of biomaterials, but usually separately. An instrument combining fluorescence spectroscopy and Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) has been developed to explore both fluorescence and mass spectrometric behavior of ions produced by electrospray ionization (ESI) in ultra high vacuum (<5 × 10−9 mbar). Using rhodamine 6G (R6G) as a sample, the instrument was systematically characterized. Gas-phase fluorescence and mass spectral signal of the same ion population are detected immediately after each other. Effects of gas pressure, ion density, and excitation laser power on the fluorescence signal intensity and mass spectral fragmentation patterns are discussed. Characteristic times of ion photodissociation in ultra high vacuum were recorded for different irradiation powers. Photofragmentation patterns of rhodamine 6G ions in the Penning trap of an FTICR spectrometer obtained by photoinduced dissociation (PID) with visible light and sustained off-resonance irradiation collision-induced dissociation (SORI-CID) were compared. The lowest energy dissociation fragment of rhodamine 6G ions was identified by relating PID patterns of rhodamine 6G and rhodamine 575 dyes at various irradiation powers. The unique instrument provides a powerful platform for probing the intramolecular relaxation mechanisms of nonsolvated ions when interacting with light, which is of great fundamental interest for better understanding of their physical and chemical properties.
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