The diastereoisomers of α-aminophosphonates are key intermediates in the synthesis of enantiomerically pure α-aminophosphonic acids, which are analogs of α-amino acids. Although several methods have been reported for the diastereoselective synthesis of α-aminophosphonates, their mass spectrometry (MS) fragmentation patterns have not yet been fully investigated. The work described here involved a detailed study of the fragmentation of enriched α-aminophosphonate diastereoisomers by chemical ionization (CI-MS) and fast atom bombardment (FAB)-MS. The complete characterization of the different conventional MS fragmentation pathways is represented and this intriguing exercise required the use of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) experiments and high-resolution accurate mass measurements. All α-aminophosphonates gave prominent pseudomolecular ions, protonated molecules [MH]+, and their fragmentations mainly showed a loss of dimethyl phosphite to give the corresponding iminium ions as base peaks for α-aminophosphonates bearing methylbenzyl and 2,2-dimethylbutyl fragments. The loss of the chiral fragment from the iminium ions bearing the (S)-1-(1-naphthyl)ethyl group gave rise to a base peak due to aryl cations. The nature of all fragment ions were confirmed by high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.