This letter demonstrates the use of infrared matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization coupled with microscope mode mass spectrometry imaging. It is aimed to explore the use of intrinsic water in tissue as a matrix for imaging at spatial resolutions below the diffraction limit of the employed IR optics. Stigmatic ion optics with a magnification factor of 70 were used to project the spatial distribution of produced ions onto a detector while separating ions with different mass-to-charge ratios using a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. A pixelated detector was used to simultaneously record arrival time and impact position. A previously described dried-droplet sample system of 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB) and 5 peptides covered by a copper grid for defined surface structure was used to benchmark the light- and ion-optical setup for spatial resolution and mass spectrometric performance. A spatial resolving power of 9.8 μm, well below the optical limit of diffraction (14 μm for the given setup), was established. After, frozen cryo-sections from a biological model system were measured by exploiting the endogenous water content as a matrix. Principal component analysis enabled a clear distinction between distinct tissue regions identified by both light microscopy and MS imaging.

H.J. Bakker (Huib)
Anal. Chem.

Soltwisch, J., Göritz, G., Jungmann, J., Kiss, A., Smith, D., Ellis, S., & Heeren, R. (2014). MALDI mass spectrometry imaging in microscope mode with infrared lasers : bypassing the diffraction limits. Anal. Chem., 86(1), 321–325. doi:10.1021/ac403421v