Plasma Desorption Mass Spectrometry — Achievements and Frontiers
Almost twenty years ago, R.D. Macfarlane, D.F. Torgerson and others at Texas A&M discovered that fission fragments from a 252Cf source can cause ejection of whole intact molecular ions from a sample consisting of a multi-layer deposit of organic molecules . The secondary ions were mass analyzed with a time-of-flight (TOF) technique. The potential of the new mass spectrometric method, called Plasma Desorption Mass Spectrometry (PDMS) was demonstrated in a number of experiments by the Texas group but it was not until almost ten years later when the full potential for high mass analysis was demonstrated [2,3], in fact almost coinciding with the appearance of the FAB method , that the method started to be used more extensively in mass spectrometry applications. In fact the use of adsorption of sample molecules to a substrate of nitrocellulose  was probably the singly most important reason why PDMS started to be used as a tool in protein chemistry. In establishing the potential of the method important contributions, in addition to those at Texas A&M university were made by Field and Chait  at Rockefeller university and by the Uppsala-Odense collaboration . Already a few years after the Texas discovery groups at Darmstadt , Orsay , Erlangen  and Uppsala  started to use accelerators, in addition to 252Cf, to study various aspects of the basic mechanisms involved in PDMS.
KeywordsFission Fragment High Charge State Field Free Region Large Organic Molecule Renin Substrate
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