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Characterization of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Based on Absorption and Acoustic Monitoring

Volume 49, Number 12 (Dec. 1995) Page 1826-1833

Preisler, Jan; Yeung, Edward S.

Conventional methods for studying matrix-assisted desorption-ionization rely on mass spectroscopy. In this study, a 488-nm argon-ion laser beam is deflected by two acoustooptic deflectors to image plumes desorbed at atmospheric pressure via absorption. All species, including neutral molecules, are monitored. Interesting features, e.g., differences between the initial plume and subsequent plumes desorbed from the same spot, or the formation of two plumes from one laser shot, are observed. Total plume absorbance can be correlated with the acoustic signal generated by the desorption event. A model equation for the plume velocity as a function of time is proposed. Optical probing also enables accurate determination of plume velocities at reduced pressures. These results define the optimal conditions for desorbing analytes from matrices, as opposed to achieving a compromise between efficient desorption and efficient ionization as is practiced in mass spectrometry.