Effect of local matrix crystal variations in matrix-assisted ionization techniques for mass spectrometry
Anal. Chem. , Volume 75 p. 2333- 2341
Intense intact molecular ion signals have been obtained from phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, and phosphatidylinositol using matrix-enhanced secondary ion mass spectrometry (ME-SIMS). It was found that the high-mass (m/z >500) regions of the ME-SIMS spectra closely resembled those obtained using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). Using high spatial resolution SIMS, a detailed investigation of dried-droplet samples was performed. Based on the detected Na+ and 2,5-DHB matrix signal intensities, different crystal types were distinguished, in addition to different sizes of crystals. Spatially mapping the pseudomolecular and fragment ions of the phospholipids revealed that the nature of the pseudomolecular ions formed, as well as the ratio of intact molecular to fragment ion, was dependent on the type and surface composition of the crystal. The observed chemical bias effects due to crystal heterogeneity and the resulting variation in desorption/ionization efficiency will complicate the interpretation of data obtained from matrix-assisted mass spectrometric (imaging) techniques and is an important factor in the "hot spot" phenomenon frequently encountered in MALDI experiments. In this respect, imaging SIMS was found to be a versatile tool to investigate the effects of the local physicochemical conditions on the detected molecular species.