Nanostructured solid substrates for efficient laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS) of low molecular weight compounds
Analytical applications often require rapid measurement of compounds from complex sample mixtures. High-speed mass spectrometry approaches frequently utilize techniques based on direct ionization of the sample by laser irradiation, mostly by means of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). Compounds of low molecular weight are difficult to analyze by MALDI, however, because of severe interferences in the low m/z range from the organic matrix used for desorption/ionization. In recent years, surface-assisted laser desorption/ionization (SALDI) techniques have shown promise for small molecule analysis, due to the unique properties of nanostructured surfaces, in particular, the lack of a chemical background in the low m/z range and enhanced production of analyte ions by SALDI. This short review article presents a summary of the most promising recent developments in SALDI materials for MS analysis of low molecular weight analytes, with emphasis on nanostructured materials based on metals and semiconductors.