We present a conductive polymer spray ionization (CPSI) method for the direct mass spectrometric analysis of hydrophilic drugs, saccharides, peptides, and proteins in biofluids. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were introduced into poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) to fabricate a conductive composite substrate CNT/PMMA in the shape of a triangle (8 mm wide and 10 mm long) with its apex pointed toward the inlet of a mass spectrometer. In comparison with a traditional paper spray substrate, the conductive polymer absorbs less hydrophilic compounds owing to its hydrophobic nature. When aqueous biofluid samples are loaded, they also exhibit less diffusion on this nonporous surface. Only 1.0-2.0 μL solvent suffices to extract the components in a dried biofluid spot and to form charged microdroplets (4.5 kV high voltage applied). Furthermore, the hydrophobic polymer surface only needs to overcome weak surface tension to emit charged microdroplets, so that the signal has a typical duration of 7.5 min. For sunitinib, acarbose, melamine, and angiotensin II, the ion intensity of the target compound from the conductive polymer support is significantly higher than paper spray, typically by a factor of 20 to 100. These results suggest that the CNT/PMMA conductive polymer spray has great potential in the analysis of hydrophilic drugs, saccharides, peptides, and proteins in biofluids.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry