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Issue 8, 2009
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Fast polymer fingerprinting using flowing afterglow atmospheric pressure glow discharge mass spectrometry

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Abstract

Flowing afterglow atmospheric pressure glow discharge mass spectrometry (FA-APGD-MS) was used to interrogate different polymer species such as biopolymers, synthetic homo- and co-polymers. The main advantages of FA-APGD-MS for polymer samples include speed (<30 s per sample) and analysis at atmospheric pressures. Moreover, there are essentially no restrictions as to the kind of polymer sample that can be analyzed because FA-APGD-MS can deal with liquid and solid (soluble or insoluble) bulk polymers and granulates, irrespective of their conductivity, without requiring any sample preparation prior to analysis. We will discuss the mechanism of ion formation as well as the limitation of the accessible mass range (m/z < 500) in view of what type of information can be gained from the mass spectra obtained. Monomer units and some fragments were detected for homopolymers, e.g.cis-polyisoprene (IR), poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), which allowed identification of the polymer composition. The mass spectra obtained were further processed using principal component analysis (PCA) for a better visualization and assessing of mass-spectral reproducibility. Combination with PCA even allowed differentiation of pectin, amylopectin, and cellulose, chemically very similar polysaccharides whose characteristic differences lie in the nature of the glycosidic linkage. Finally, we were able to detect and identify phthalate plasticizers, bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (BEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), present in poly(vinyl chloride)-based food wraps.

Graphical abstract: Fast polymer fingerprinting using flowing afterglow atmospheric pressure glow discharge mass spectrometry

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Nov 2008, accepted on 21 Apr 2009 and first published on 12 May 2009


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B819560A
Citation: Analyst, 2009,134, 1629-1636
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    Fast polymer fingerprinting using flowing afterglow atmospheric pressure glow discharge mass spectrometry

    M. C. Jecklin, G. Gamez and R. Zenobi, Analyst, 2009, 134, 1629
    DOI: 10.1039/B819560A

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