Supercritical Fluid Nanospray Mass Spectrometry

Mahmoud Elhusseiny Mostafa, James P. Grinias, James L. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Supercritical fluids are typically electrosprayed using an organic solvent makeup flow to facilitate continuous electrical connection and enhancement of electrospray stability. This results in sample dilution, loss in sensitivity, and potential phase separation. Premixing the supercritical fluid with organic solvent has shown substantial benefits to electrospray efficiency and increased analyte charge state. Presented here is a nanospray mass spectrometry system for supercritical fluids (nSF-MS). This split flow system used small i.d. capillaries, heated interface, inline frit, and submicron emitter tips to electrospray quaternary alkyl amines solvated in supercritical CO2 with a 10% methanol modifier. Analyte signal response was evaluated as a function of total system flow rate (0.5-1.5 mL/min) that is split to nanospray a supercritical fluid with linear flow rates between 0.07 and 0.42 cm/sec and pressure ranges (15-25 MPa). The nSF system showed mass-sensitive detection based on increased signal intensity for increasing capillary i.d. and analyte injection volume. These effects indicate efficient solvent evaporation for the analysis of quaternary amines. Carrier additives generally decreased signal intensity. Comparison of the nSF-MS system to the conventional SF makeup flow ESI showed 10-fold signal intensity enhancement across all the capillary i.d.s. The nSF-MS system likely achieves rapid solvent evaporation of the SF at the emitter point. The developed system combined the benefits of the nanoemitters, sCO2, and the low modifier percentage which gave rise to enhancement in MS detection sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1825-1832
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 5 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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