Design Characteristics to Eliminate the Need for Parameter Optimization in Nanoflow ESI-MS
The sampling efficiency in electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) can be improved by decreasing the liquid flow rate to the nanoflow regime, where it is possible to draw a large fraction of the ESI plume into the mass spectrometer. This mode of operation is typically more difficult than ESI-MS at higher flow rates because it requires careful optimization of a number of parameters to achieve optimal sampling efficiency. In this work, we screened the relative impact on signal intensity and spray stability of factors that included sprayer position, spray electrode protrusion, sprayer tip shape, spray angle relative to the MS inlet, nebulizer gas flow rate, ESI potential, and means for generating the electric field to initiate electrospray. Based on the screening results, we explore the possibility of providing fixed optimal values for many of the key source parameters to eliminate much of the tuning that is required for conventional nanoflow sources. This approach has potential to greatly simplify nanoflow ESI-MS, while providing optimized sensitivity, stability, and robustness, with decreased variability between analyses.
KeywordsNanospray ESI Optimization Tuning Sensitivity Robustness
We appreciate the help of Deolinda Fernandes for the preparation of the samples. We also appreciate Stan Potyrala for the prototype source design.
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