Capillary photoionization: interface for low flow rate liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry†
This is the first report on capillary photoionization (CPI) interfacing a liquid chromatograph (LC) and mass spectrometer (MS). A new heated CPI ion source was developed, including a heated transfer capillary, a wide oval-shaped and low-depth ionization chamber with a vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) transparent magnesium fluoride (MgF2) window to increase the photoionization efficiency and thus the sensitivity. As both analytes and eluent are first vaporized and then photoionized inside the CPI ion source between the atmosphere and the vacuum of MS, the ion transfer efficiency into the MS and thus the sensitivity is improved. The effect of the most important operation parameters, the eluent flow rate and temperature of the CPI source, on the signal intensity was studied with selected steroids. The feasibility of LC-CPI-MS/MS for the quantitative analysis of steroids was also studied in terms of linearity, repeatability, and limits of detection. The method showed good quantitative performance and sensitivity down to the low femto-mole level.
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