Atmospheric-pressure thermal desorption ionization (APTDI), a new variant on older ionization methods, is employed to generate gas-phase ions from inorganic and organometallic compounds. The method is compared to conventional electrospray ionization (ESI) of these compounds and found in most cases examined to yield simpler mass spectra which are useful in the characterization of the pure compounds. Cluster formation, however, is prominent in these spectra and mixtures of V(IV)O(salen), Ni(II)(salen) and Co(II)(salen) show mixed-metal cluster ions. This makes APTDI a way to prepare gas-phase ions which contain multiple selected metal atoms and ligands. Such mixed-metal complexes can be mass-selected and structurally characterized by tandem mass spectrometry. Strong contrasts are evident in the dissociation behavior of homonuclear and heteronuclear metal clusters, the latter showing accompanying redox processes. The chemical reactivity accompanying collision-induced dissociation (CID) of some of the mixed-metal clusters is typified by the protonated species H +[NiVO(salen)], which undergoes a formal oxidation process (hydrogen atom loss) to give the molecular radical cation of Ni(salen). This ionization method may provide a new route to unique inorganic compounds on surfaces through soft landing of appropriate cluster ions. The contrasting behavior of the ESI and APTDI processes is evident in the salens where ESI shows simple Bronsted acid/base chemistry, no mixed-metal clusters and no redox chemistry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry