In the past two years, papers have appeared in the literature which demonstrate that matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectra can be obtained from matrix-analyte preparations which have been produced by grinding the two materials together until a powder of small particle size is obtained. In the present study that methodology was modified and applied to an insoluble polyimide oligomer, poly(4,4′-oxydiphenylenepyromellitimide) (POPM). Two matrix materials were employed in this analysis, 1,8 dihydroxyanthrone (dithranol) and 3-aminoquinoline, with and without an additional cationizing agent. The spectra obtained by this method are shown to be sensitive to the matrix employed in the analysis as well as the quantity of cationizing agent combined with the matrix. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.