Extractive Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry of Heterogeneous Particles: Implications for Applications to Complex Atmospheric Aerosol
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (EESI-MS) is a direct, real time technique for obtaining mass spectra of gases, liquid droplets, solid particles, and aerosols with little sample processing. EESI-MS involves the interaction of charged electrospray droplets with a separate spray containing the analyte of interest, but the exact mechanism by which the solvent droplets extract analyte from the sample is unclear. Possible mechanisms include complete coalescence of the sample particle with the solvent droplet in which all of the analyte is incorporated into the solvent or a more temporary interaction such that only some of the analyte is transferred to the solvent. Previous studies of the mechanism of EESI-MS on homogeneous particles indicate that both mechanisms are possible. We studied the behavior of EESI-MS toward heterogeneous particles created by coating NaCl particles with various thicknesses of organic diacids. Our results indicate that the signal strength depends on the solubility of the organic acid in the electrospray solvent, in agreement with previous studies, and also that the outer 10-15 nm of the particles are most susceptible to extraction into the electrospray droplets. Our results combined with those of previous studies suggest that the mass spectra obtained with EESI will not necessarily reflect the overall particle composition, especially for particles that are spatially inhomogeneous, and hence caution in interpretation of the data is advised for application to complex atmospheric aerosol.