The characterization of metal-containing supramolecular polymers by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) or matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is complicated because of the interaction of the charged materials with the GPC column material in the first case and fragmentation due to the applied laser energy in the latter case. In this contribution we report recent advances made for the characterization of supramolecular polymers based on terpyridine metal complexes utilizing GPC and MALDI-TOF MS. In particular for GPC analysis, the choice of solvent and additive was found to be crucial for a successful characterization. Furthermore, MALDI-TOF MS spectra of these compounds are not straightforward to interpret. Both aspects are discussed in detail with the result of a better understanding and improved analysis possibilities of the mentioned supramolecular polymers.
A GPC-coupled in-line diode array spectrum of one of the complexes investigated here.