3 years ago

# Stabilization of gas-phase uranyl complexes enables rapid speciation using electrospray ionization and ion mobility-mass spectrometry

Significant challenges exist when characterizing f-element complexes in solution using traditional approaches such as electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques as they do not always capture information for lower abundance species. However, provided a metal-complex with sufficient stability, soft ionization techniques such as electrospray offer a means to quantify and probe the characteristics of such systems using mass spectrometry. Unfortunately, the gas-phase species observed in ESI-MS systems do not always reflect the solution phase distributions due to the inherent electrochemical mechanism of the electrospray process, ion transfer from ambient to low pressures conditions, and other factors that are related to droplet evaporation. Even for simple systems (e.g. hydrated cations), it is not always clear whether the distribution observed reflects the solution phase populations or whether it is simply a result of the ionization process. This complexity is further compounded in mixed solvent systems and when multiply charged species are present. Despite these challenges, the benefits of mass spectrometry with respect to speed, sensitivity, and the ability to resolve isotopes continue to drive efforts to develop techniques for the speciation of metal complexes. Using an electrospray ionization atmospheric pressure ion mobility mass spectrometer (ESI-apIMS-MS), we demonstrate an approach to stabilize simple uranyl complexes during the ionization process and mobility separation to aid speciation and isotope profile analysis. Specifically, we outline and demonstrate the capacity of ESI-apIMS-MS methods to measure mobilities of different uranyl species, in simple mixtures, by promoting stable gas phase conformations with the addition of sulfoxides (i.e. dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), dibutyl sulfoxide (DBSO), and methyl phenyl sulfoxide (MPSO)). Addition of these sulfoxides, as observed in the mass spectrum and mobility domain, produce stable gas-phase conformations that enable the observation of the counter anion pair while minimizing the range of ligand exchange events as the ionized complex enters the gas-phase. Other enhancements include improved data acquisition times by applying multiplexing approaches to the IMS Bradbury-Nielsen (BN) gate to realize increased ion transmission and improve ion statistics measured at the m/z detector. Analyte identification using this approach is based on a multitude of combined measured gas-phase ion metrics, which include mass measurements, isotope profiling, and experimentally determined reduced mobilities measured at the low-field limit ($< 2$ E/N). Though geared initially towards uranyl complexes, this approach may find application in fields where both chemical speciation and isotopic profiles provide diagnostic information for a given metal.

### Highlights

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0039914017308123

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.