Carbon Fiber Ionization Mass Spectrometry for the Analysis of Analytes in Vapor, Liquid, and Solid Phases

Min Li Wu, Te Yu Chen, Yen Chun Chen, Yu-Chie Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Various ionization methods in mass spectrometry (MS) are available for the analysis of analytes with different properties. Nonetheless, the use of a single ionization method to analyze mixtures containing analytes with different polarities and volatilities in different phases at atmospheric pressure remains a challenge. Exploring an ionization method that can ionize small organics and large biomolecules with different properties for MS analysis is advantageous. Carbon fiber ionization mass spectrometry (CFI-MS), which uses a carbon fiber bundle as the ion source, is useful for the analysis of small organics with low polarities. Voltage needs to be applied on the carbon fiber bundle to initiate corona discharge for ionization of analytes. In this study, we explore the suitability of using CFI-MS in the analysis of analytes in vapor, liquid, and solid phases using a single carbon fiber (length: ∼1 cm; diameter: ∼10 μm) as the ion source. Furthermore direct electric contact on the carbon fiber is not required. We demonstrate that CFI-MS is useful for analyzing not only small and low-polarity organics but also polar biomolecules, such as peptides and proteins. The limits of detection for analytes with high polarities such as dodecyl trimethylammonium bromide and bradykinin are estimated to be ∼16 and ∼53 pM, respectively. Ionization mechanisms, including corona discharge and electrospray, are involved in the ionization of analytes with the polarity from low to high. Furthermore, sesame oil containing aromatic volatiles and compounds with different polarities is used as a model sample to demonstrate the capability of the developed ionization method to provide comprehensive chemical information from a complex sample. In addition, the feasibility of using the developed method for quantitative analysis of nonpolar as well as medium and high polarity analytes is also demonstrated. The sensitivity of the developed method toward analytes with high polarity is higher than those with low polarity. The method precision was estimated to be ∼7.8%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13458-13465
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 19 Dec 2017

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon Fiber Ionization Mass Spectrometry for the Analysis of Analytes in Vapor, Liquid, and Solid Phases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this