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Title: Transmission Geometry Laser Ablation into a Non-Contact Liquid Vortex Capture Probe for Mass Spectrometry Imaging

RATIONALE: Capture of material from a laser ablation plume into a continuous flow stream of solvent provides the means for uninterrupted sampling, transport and ionization of collected material for coupling with mass spectral analysis. Reported here is the use of vertically aligned transmission geometry laser ablation in combination with a new non-contact liquid vortex capture probe coupled with electrospray ionization for spot sampling and chemical imaging with mass spectrometry. Methods: A vertically aligned continuous flow liquid vortex capture probe was positioned directly underneath a sample surface in a transmission geometry laser ablation (355 nm, 10 Hz, 7 ns pulse width) setup to capture into solution the ablated material. The outlet of the vortex probe was coupled to the Turbo V ion source of an AB SCIEX TripleTOF 5600+ mass spectrometer. System operation and performance metrics were tested using inked patterns and thin tissue sections. Glass slides and slides designed especially for laser capture microdissection, viz., DIRECTOR slides and PEN 1.0 (polyethylene naphthalate) membrane slides, were used as sample substrates. Results: The estimated capture efficiency of laser ablated material was 24%, which was enabled by the use of a probe with large liquid surface area (~ 2.8 mm2) and with gravitymore » to help direct ablated material vertically down towards the probe. The swirling vortex action of the liquid surface potentially enhanced capture and dissolution of not only particulates, but also gaseous products of the laser ablation. The use of DIRECTOR slides and PEN 1.0 (polyethylene naphthalate) membrane slides as sample substrates enabled effective ablation of a wide range of sample types (basic blue 7, polypropylene glycol, insulin and cyctochrome c) without photodamage using a UV laser. Imaging resolution of about 6 m was demonstrated for stamped ink on DIRECTOR slides based on the ability to distinguish features present both in the optical and in the chemical image. This imaging resolution was 20 times better than the previous best reported results with laser ablation/liquid sample capture mass spectrometry imaging. Using thin sections of brain tissue the chemical image of a selected lipid was obtained with an estimated imaging resolution of about 50 um. Conclusions: A vertically aligned, transmission geometry laser ablation liquid vortex capture probe, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry system provides an effective means for spatially resolved spot sampling and imaging with mass spectrometry.« less
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  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry; Journal Volume: 28; Journal Issue: 15
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
SC USDOE - Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
laser ablation; liquid vortex capture probe; mass spectrometry imaging; electrospray ionization; DIRECTOR slides; PEN 1.0 (polyethylene naphthalate) membrane slides