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Mass Spectrometry

  1. Charles M. Guttman

Published Online: 15 NOV 2010

DOI: 10.1002/0471440264.pst190.pub2

Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology

Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology

How to Cite

Guttman, C. M. 2010. Mass Spectrometry. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology. .

Author Information

  1. Polymers Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 NOV 2010


We describe various forms of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) in the determination of the molecular mass distribution (MMD) and the polymer architecture. The time-o-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) system is described in detail this system is the most common in use today for MALDI analysis of synthetic polymers. Because sample preparation poses the major problem in obtaining and analyzing spectra using the TOF/MS methods, we offer detailed descriptions of these methods including those needed to calibrate the mass axis and the signal axis. We also review a variety of applications of MALDI to synthetic polymers such as MMD, molecular composition distribution (MCD) of copolymers, polymer architecture, combinations of MALDI TOF MS with size exclusion chromatography and other forms of polymer chromatography, as well as the use of MALDI in elucidating polymer chemical reactions mechanisms.


  • Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry;
  • MALDI;
  • characterization;
  • sample preparation methods;
  • calibration of mass and signal axis;
  • polymer single chain characterization;
  • molecular mass distribution;
  • molecular composition distributions;
  • polymer characterization;
  • size exclusion chromatography;
  • polymer chromatography;
  • copolymer;
  • polymer architecture