A new method of electrospray-assisted laser desorption/ionization (ELDI) mass spectrometry, which combines laser desorption with post-ionization by electrospray, was applied to rapid analysis of solid materials under ambient conditions. Analytes were desorbed from solid metallic and insulating substrata using a pulsed nitrogen laser. Post-ionization produced high-quality mass spectra characteristic of electrospray, including protein multiple charging. For the first time, mass spectra of intact proteins were obtained using laser desorption without adding a matrix. Bovine cytochrome c and an illicit drug containing methaqualone were chosen in this study to demonstrate the applicability of ELDI to the analysis of proteins and synthetic organic compounds. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.