• core/shell materials;
  • ion exchange;
  • magnetic materials;
  • microstructures;
  • phosphopeptides


Novel core–shell structured Fe3O4@LnPO4 (Ln=Eu, Tb, Er) multifunctional microspheres with a magnetic Fe3O4 core and a LnPO4 shell covered with spikes are synthesized for the first time through the combination of a homogeneous precipitation approach and an ion-exchange process. Their potential for selective capture, rapid separation, and easy mass spectrometry (MS) labeling of the phosphopeptides from complex proteolytic digests are evaluated. These affinity microspheres can improve the specificity for capture of the phosphopeptides, realize fast magnetic separation, enhance the MS detection signals, and directly identify phosphopeptides through 80 Da mass loss in the mass spectra. The synthesis strategy could become a general and effective technique for similar core–shell hierarchical structures.