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Imidazolium salts with varying anions as charge carriers for detection of neutral bis(triphenylphosphine)palladium(II) dichloride in electrospray ionization mass spectrometry




While electrospray ionization is a popular technique for mass analysis, without a charged species it is ineffective. This coupled with solvent restrictions hinders the analysis of organometallic complexes. Detecting neutral species whose solubility is limited to nonconventional solvents is a problemthat can be overcome with the right charge carrier, which is described in this study.


Ionic liquids were synthesized and analyzed by electrospray ionization quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometry. The neutral palladium complex was also analyzed using different imidazolium salts as the charge carrier with the same method and instrumentation. Theoretical complementswere also performed using Gaussian 09 at the density functional theory levels, using B3LYP functionals and the 6-31 g (d,p) basis set for geometry optimizations.


Low concentration imidazolium salts in methanol showed aggregation behavior of the ionic liquid, where the cation peak and [cation]n+1[anion]n peaks were observed in positive mode, while the [cation]n[anion]n+1 peaks were seen in negative mode. The unbound anion was observed in all the negative mode spectra except for the salt with the SCN anion when in THF. Solutions of PdCl2(PPh3)2 and a small amount of ionic liquid in THF showed the palladium complex adducted with the imidazolium cation for each of the ionic liquids studied.


A charge carrier for a neutral organometallic complex was found in imidazolium salts, where the cation was observed as the ionizing agent. Differing ion intensities of the complex-adduct peak resulted from the anions ability to dissociate from the cation. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.