Quaternary ammonium salts (Quats) and amines are known to facilitate the MS analysis of high molar mass polyethers by forming low charge state adduct ions. The formation, stability, and behavior upon collision-induced dissociation (CID) of adduct ions of polyethers with a variety of Quats and amines were studied by electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight, quadrupole ion trap, and linear ion trap tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The linear ion trap instrument was part of an Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer that allowed accurate mass MS/MS measurements. The Quats and amines studied were of different degree of substitution, structure, and size. The stability of the adduct ions was related to the structure of the cation, especially the amine's degree of substitution. CID of singly/doubly charged primary and tertiary ammonium cationized polymers resulted in the neutral loss of the amine followed by fragmentation of the protonated product ions. The latter reveals information about the monomer unit, polymer sequence, and endgroup structure. In addition, the detection of product ions retaining the ammonium ion was observed. The predominant process in the CID of singly charged quaternary ammonium cationized polymers was cation detachment, whereas their doubly charged adduct ions provided the same information as the primary and tertiary ammonium cationized adduct ions. This study shows the potential of specific amines as tools for the structural elucidation of high molar mass polyethers.

J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom.

Nasioudis, A., Heeren, R., van Doormalen, I., de Wijs-Rot, N., & van den Brink, O. F. (2011). Electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry of ammonium cationized polyethers. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 22(5), 837–844. doi:10.1007/s13361-011-0101-4