The properties and relative ionization efficiencies of a series of polystyrenes (PS) with hydroxyl, hydrogen, tertiary amine, and quaternary amine end-functionalities were examined by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS). The hydrogen and hydroxyl functionalized PS ionized via attachment of a single Ag+ cation, as expected. However, tertiary amine PS oligomers were found in (M - H)+ and (M + H)+ forms, in addition to M + Ag+, while the quaternary amine PS oligomers only ionized to the M+ form. Analysis of tertiary amine PS spectra revealed varying ratios of the three ionic forms depending on the oligomer length, pointing to a change in ionization efficiency. When the bulk samples were compared, the quaternary amine end-functionalized PS gave a ten-fold higher ionization efficiency over all others studied, likely because of the preexisting charge on the functionality. Samples with hydroxyl and hydrogen functionalities had similar ionization efficiencies, with the tertiary amine slightly higher, depending on the molecular weight. Changes in molecular weight affected the relative ionization efficiencies in varying fashion depending on the end functionality, though average molecular weight measurements were largely unaffected by end-functionality. Quantification of end-functionalized polystyrenes with different ionization efficiencies was found to be possible if due care was taken. © 2003 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
Cox, F. J., Johnston, M. V., & Dasgupta, A. (2003). Characterization and relative ionization efficiencies of end-functionalized polystyrenes by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 14(6), 648–657. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1044-0305(03)00216-2