AMBIENT ELECTROSTATICS OF IONS AND CHARGED MICRODROPLETS PRODUCED VIA NANOELECTROSPRAY IONIZATION
Mass spectrometry, the science and technology of ions, owes much of its current popularity to the development of electrospray ionization. The development of electrospray ionization, along with its low flow-rate analog nanoelectrospray ionization, has increased the chemical space that can be investigated using mass spectrometers by orders of magnitude. While the interfacial chemistry of charged microdroplets that are generated by nanoelectrospray has been studied in detail, the physics of their motion, particularly in the presence of an applied field at ambient pressures, remains relatively unexplored. In this dissertation, an increase in ion currents detected by a commercial triple quadrupole mass spectrometer is used to demonstrate that: (i) the orthogonal injection of counterions into an electrode assembly can compensate for space charge effects and enhance the sampling of charged microdroplets from a nanoelectrospray focused electrostatically under ambient conditions into the mass spectrometer; and (ii) the ease of ion evaporation from charged microdroplets may be elucidated for small molecules based on their relative transmission through an electrode assembly for the simultaneous ambient electrostatic focusing of two nanoelectrosprays. In each case, the development is characterized by using ion trajectory calculations in conjunction with experiments, using homebuilt devices designed and fabricated in-house as rapid prototypes via 3D printing. In the open air, charged microdroplets have low kinetic energies with a narrow energy spread. Despite these limitations, this dissertation demonstrates, through the electrostatic manipulation of charged microdroplets produced via nanoelectrospray ionization, that a better understanding of the physics of moving charges in the open air can be used to increase the sensitivity of atmospheric pressure ionization.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- West Lafayette