Fundamental Studies of New Ionization Technologies and Insights from IMS-MS


Exceptional ion mobility spectrometry mass spectrometry (IMS-MS) developments by von Helden, Jarrold, and Clemmer provided technology that gives a view of chemical/biological compositions previously not achievable. The ionization method of choice used with IMS-MS has been electrospray ionization (ESI). In this special issue contribution, we focus on fundamentals of heretofore unprecedented means for transferring volatile and nonvolatile compounds into gas-phase ions singly and multiply charged. These newer ionization processes frequently lead to different selectivity relative to ESI and, together with IMS-MS, may provide a more comprehensive view of chemical compositions directly from their original environment such as surfaces, e.g., tissue. Similarities of results using solvent- and matrix-assisted ionization are highlighted, as are differences between ESI and the inlet ionization methods, especially with mixtures such as bacterial extracts. Selectivity using different matrices is discussed, as are results which add to our fundamental knowledge of inlet ionization as well as pose additional avenues for inquiry. IMS-MS provides an opportunity for comparison studies relative to ESI and will prove valuable using the new ionization technologies for direct analyses. Our hypothesis is that some ESI-IMS-MS applications will be replaced by the new ionization processes and by understanding mechanistic aspects to aid enhanced source and method developments this will be hastened.

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The authors are grateful for funding and support from NSF CHE-1411376 (to ST) and NSF Phase II 1556043 including TECP (to CNM and ST). We thank Dr. Philip Martin, WSU, for the X-ray measurements. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Sarah Trimpin.

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Trimpin, S., Inutan, E.D., Karki, S. et al. Fundamental Studies of New Ionization Technologies and Insights from IMS-MS. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 30, 1133–1147 (2019) doi:10.1007/s13361-019-02194-7

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  • Inlet ionization
  • Vacuum ionization
  • Matrices
  • Inlets
  • Fundamentals
  • Ion mobility