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Title: Picoelectrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry Using Narrow-bore Chemically Etched Emitters

Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) at flow rates below ~10 nL/min has been only sporadically explored due to difficulty in reproducibly fabricating emitters that can operate at lower flow rates. Here we demonstrate narrow orifice chemically etched emitters for stable electrospray at flow rates as low as 400 pL/min. Depending on the analyte concentration, we observe two types of MS signal response as a function of flow rate. At low concentrations, an optimum flow rate is observed slightly above 1 nL/min, while the signal decreases monotonically with decreasing flow rates at higher concentrations. In spite of lower MS signal, the ion utilization efficiency increases exponentially with decreasing flow rate in all cases. No unimolecular response was observed within this flow rate range during the analysis of an equimolar mixture of peptides, indicating that ionization efficiency is an analyte-dependent characteristic in given experimental conditions. While little to no gain in signal-to-noise was achieved at ultralow flow rates for concentration-limited analyses, experiments consuming the same amount of analyte suggest that mass-limited analyses will benefit strongly from the use of low flow rates and avoiding unnecessary sample dilution. By operating under optimal conditions, consumption of just 500 zmol of sample yielded signal-to-noise ratiosmore » ~10 for some peptides. These findings have important implications for the analysis of trace biological samples.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47618; KP1704020
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 25(1):30-36
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory