American Chemical Society
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Spray Mechanism of Contained-Electrospray Ionization

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posted on 2020-06-02, 09:29 authored by Colbert F. Miller, Benjamin J. Burris, Abraham K. Badu-Tawiah
Analytical characteristics of contained electrospray ionization (ESI) are summarized in terms of its potential to modify the analyte solution during the stages of droplet formation to provide opportunities to generate native versus denatured biomolecular gas-phase ions, without the need for bulk-phase analyte modifications. The real-time modification of the charged microdroplets occurs in a cavity that is included in the outlet of the contained-ESI ion source. Close examination of the inside of the cavity using a high-speed camera revealed the formation of discrete droplets as well as thin liquid films in the droplets wake. When operated at 20 psi N2 pressure, the droplets were observed to move at an average speed of 8 mm/s providing ∼1 s mixing time in a 10 mm cavity length. Evidence is provided for the presence of highly reactive charged droplets based on myoglobin charge state distribution, apo-myoglobin contents, and ion mobility drift time profiles under different spray conditions. Mechanistic insights for the capture of vapor-phase reagents and droplet dynamics as influenced by different operational modes are also described.