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Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometric Detection of Biomolecules Using Gold Nanoparticles, Matrix, and the Coffee Ring Effect

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journal contribution
posted on 02.02.2017, 00:00 by Alyssa L. M. Marsico, Bradley Duncan, Ryan F. Landis, Gulen Yesilbag Tonga, Vincent M. Rotello, Richard W. Vachet
Nanomaterials have been extensively used as alternate matrices to minimize the low molecular weight interferences observed in typical MALDI but such nanomaterials typically do not improve the spot-to-spot variability that is commonly seen. In this work, we demonstrate that nanoparticles and low matrix concentrations (<2.5 mg/mL) can be used to homogeneously concentrate analytes into a narrow ring by taking advantage of the “coffee ring” effect. Concentration of the samples in this way leads to enhanced signals when compared to conventional MALDI, with higher m/z analytes being enhanced to the greatest extent. Moreover, the ionization suppression often observed in samples with high salt concentrations can be overcome by preparing samples in this way. The ring that is formed is readily visible, allowing the laser to be focused only on spots that contain analyte. The coffee-ring effect represents a new mode by which nanomaterials can be used to enhance the MALDI-based detection of biomolecules.