Differential Ion Mobility Spectrometry (DIMS) provides orthogonal separation to mass spectrometry, and DIMS combined with the high sensitivity of a quadrupole ion-trap is shown to be useful for the separation and identification of saccharides. A comprehensive analysis of the separation of anomers (alpha- and beta-methylated glucose) and epimers (alpha-methylated glucose and mannose) ionized with Li(+), Na(+), and K(+) is performed. DIMS separation is found to be better for saccharides cationized with the two latter species. The corresponding resolving power for the two glucose anomers with Na(+) is found to be very close to the corresponding drift-tube IMS value. The lithiated complexes are investigated further using a combination of infrared spectroscopy integrated to ion-trap mass spectrometry and quantum chemical calculations. Together with DIMS, consistent results are obtained. It is found that two competing structural motifs might be at play, depending on the subtle balance between the maximization of the coordination of the metal cation and the intrinsic conformational energetics of the saccharide, which is for a large part driven by hydrogen bonding. The comparison of simulated and observed spectra clearly shows that a band at approximately 3400 cm(-1) is specific to a structural motif found in the lithiated glucose complexes, which could explain the trends observed in the DIMS spectra of the saccharide complexes. It is shown that DIMS-MS/MS using wavelength specific IR activation would provide a new orthogonal dimension to mass spectrometry.
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