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Keywords:

  • APCI;
  • APPI;
  • polymers;
  • atmospheric pressure ionization;
  • chemical ionization;
  • photoionization;
  • LC/MS

Abstract

Modern mass spectrometry of synthetic polymers involves soft ionization techniques. Whereas matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) and electrospray (ESI) are employed routinely, atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and more recently atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) are used to a lesser extent. However, these latter ionization methods coupled to liquid-phase separation techniques create new opportunities for the characterization of polymers, especially for low molecular weight compounds or for the polymers that are poorly ionizable by the usual methods. After a part devoted to the description of classical MS methods employed for polymer analysis (MALDI, ESI, and their use with chromatography), APCI and APPI techniques will be described, discussed, and selected examples will present the interest of these ionization sources (or interfaces for LC/MS) in the field of polymer analysis. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 30:854–874, 2011