Salts play a mysterious role in desorption mass spectrometry, especially in biological samples.1 We used trehalose films doped with a peptide as a well defined model system to investigate the ionization effects in organic molecular depth profiling. Sodium salts at 1% level were added into the solution used to produce the trehalose films, and depth profiles were obtained with a C 60 ion source. The results show that the protonated molecular ion signal from the peptide and the quasimolecular ion signal of trehalose are significantly suppressed by the addition of salts, whereas the signals representing salt clusters and salt adducts of trehalose are formed in both positive and negative modes. The formation of protonated molecular ions is found to correlate with the ratio between protonated and bare water ions, suggesting that the latter can be used as an indicator for the accumulation of protons liberated by the ion bombardment. In experiments where no salt was added, it is shown that the surface variation of the protonated molecular ion signal strongly depends upon the water content of the trehalose film.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry