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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • nanospray;
  • trace analysis;
  • fiber;
  • nanomanipulation;
  • mass spectrometry

Abstract:  This article presents the novel instrumentation of nanomanipulation coupled to nanospray ionization-mass spectrometry, which is used to directly probe trace analytes found on individual fibers. The low detection limits and sample volumes associated with nanospray ionization-mass spectrometry make it the ideal instrument to implement for trace analysis. Nanospray ionization-mass spectrometry, coupled with the nanomanipulator, allows for the direct probing of trace particulates on fibers. The technique is demonstrated by dissolving an electrostatic particle of cocaine from a fiber, collecting the analyte solution in a nanospray tip, and transferring the tip directly to the mass spectrometer to complete analysis. The utility of this technique is evident through the minimal sample preparation and short analysis time. The use of nanomanipulation coupled to nanospray ionization-mass spectrometry could improve on current trace particulate analysis by reducing both detection limits and sample size required to complete analysis.