Infrared laser-assisted desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

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We have used an infrared laser for desorption of material and ionization by interaction with electrosprayed solvent. Infrared laser-assisted desorption electrospray ionization (IR LADESI) mass spectrometry was used for the direct analysis of water-containing samples under ambient conditions. An ion trap mass spectrometer was modified to include a pulsed Er:YAG laser at 2.94 μm wavelength coupled into a germanium oxide optical fiber for desorption at atmospheric pressure and a nanoelectrospray source for ionization. Analytes in aqueous solution were placed on a stainless steel target and irradiated with the pulsed IR laser. Material desorbed and ablated from the target was ionized by a continuous stream of charged droplets from the electrosprayed solvent. Peptide and protein samples analyzed using this method yield mass spectra similar to those obtained by conventional electrospray. Blood and urine were analyzed without sample pretreatment to demonstrate the capability of IR LADESI for direct analysis of biological fluids. Pharmaceutical products were also directly analyzed. Finally, the role of water as a matrix in the IR LADESI process is discussed. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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