Delivery of proteins and peptides to electrospray ionization mass spectrometers (ESI-MS) has been demonstrated using glass and quartz microfabricated devices. This paper reports the construction and use of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microfabricated soft polymer devices with mass spectrometry for protein analysis. The PDMS devices were fabricated using replica molding against a patterned photoresist generated by photolithographic techniques. The PDMS devices were connected to the mass spectrometer via a derivatized transfer capillary and samples were transferred by electroosmotic pumping. The formulation of PDMS was optimized for compatibility with ESI, and the devices were tested for performance. The practical application of PDMS devices was demonstrated by the identification of rat serum albumin separated by 2-D gel electrophoresis. Extended contact of the sample with the surface of the PDMS device did not significantly affect the sample analysis, and the limit of detection for samples run on a PDMS device was comparable to the limit of detection achieved on glass devices. This study suggests that PDMS devices fabricated using replica molding are compatible with ESI-MS. This will potentially lead to the construction of inexpensive microfabricated devices with complex designs and advanced functionalities.
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