Sequences and end groups of complex copolyesters were determined by fragmentation analysis by means of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization collision-induced dissociation tandem mass spectrometry (MALDI CID MS/MS). The complexity of the crude copolyester mixture was reduced by a chromatographic separation followed by a MALDI time-of-flight (TOF) investigation of fractions. Due to overlapping compositional and end-group information a clear assignment of end groups was very difficult. However, the fragmentation of suitable precursor ions resulted in typical fragment ion patterns and, therefore, enabled a fast and unambiguous determination of the end groups and composition of this important class of polymers. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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