Characterization of Small Molecules and Ions by Atmospheric Pressure Ionization-Mass Spectrometry - PhD Defense

October 14, 2021

2:00 pm

Characterization of Small Molecules and Ions by Atmospheric Pressure Ionization-Mass Spectrometry

Maleesha De Silva

Department of Chemistry
Mississippi State University

Thursday, October 14, 2021
1:00 PM
Library 1405


     Mass spectrometry (MS) has become a widely used technique for the characterization of a wide range of substances in diverse fields. The selection of appropriate ionization techniques, source parameters, charge carriers based on the analyte’s polarity is essential in MS as only the ions are detected. When using a soft ionization technique, single stage-MS at best provides only chemical composition; thus, tandem MS is needed to determine structural information and dissociation pathways. This dissertation focuses on the characterization of various small molecules and ions using different ionization techniques, charge carriers, and collision-induced dissociation (CID).
     In the first study, commercially available IL cations, specifically imidazolium-based IL cations with different side-chain chemistries, were characterized by CID-MS. The imidazolium-based IL cations have diverse dissociations pathways depending on the nature of the side chain (aliphatic or aromatic) or the functional groups (allyl, vinyl, alcohol, methoxy, nitro) present on the side chain. Additionally, it was observed that some IL cations undergo thermal degradation under normal operating temperatures of electrospray ~275 °C. A variety of experimental and complementary computational chemistry results are presented. 
     In the second study, cis-3-hydroxyproline (c3hpro) and cis-4-hydroxyproline (c4hPro) isomers were differentiated upon lithiation using CID-MS. The CID-MS of [c4hPro+Li]+ produces three primary fragmentation pathways, namely the neutral losses of H2O, CO, and CO2; whereas CID-MS of [c3hPro+Li]+ produces only loss of CO2 in this same region. These observations may have analytical utility, and in this work, the experimental observations were explored with thermodynamic and transition state calculations to better understand the processes.
     In the third study, the accurate mass of synthetic monomers including PAH perfluorocycloalkene monomers and their precursors were measured and reported with a publication-quality mass accuracy using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI)-MS. Additionally, the effect of solution flow rate, ionization mode, source parameters (such as vaporization temperature, dry gas temperature and dry gas flow rate, nebulizer gas pressure), acidification, and different solvent systems on APCI-MS signal intensity were studied.

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