This paper discusses continued studies and new analytical applications of a recently developed three-electrode controlled-potential electrochemical cell incorporated into an electrospray ion source (Van Berkel, G. J.; Asano, K. G.; Granger, M. C. Anal. Chem. 2004, 76, 1493-1499.). This cell contains a porous flow-through working electrode (i.e., the emitter electrode) with high surface area and auxiliary electrodes with small total surface area that are incorporated into the emitter electrode circuit to control the electrochemical reactions of analytes in the electrospray emitter. The current at the working and auxiliary electrodes, and current at the grounding points upstream and downstream of the emitter in the electrospray circuit, were recorded in this study, along with the respective mass spectra of model compound reserpine, under various operating conditions to better understand the electrochemical and electrospray operation of this emitter cell. In addition to the ability to control analyte oxidation in positive ion mode (or reduction in negative ion mode) in the electrospray emitter, this emitter cell system was shown to provide the ability to efficiently reduce analytes in positive ion mode and oxidize analytes in negative ion mode. This was demonstrated by the reduction of methylene blue in positive ion mode and oxidation of 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid in negative ion mode. Also, the ability to control electrochemical reactions via potential control was used to selectively ionize (oxidize) analytes with different standard electrochemical potentials within mixtures to different charge states to overcome overlapping molecular ion isotopic clusters. The analytical benefit of this ability was illustrated using a mixture of nickel and cobalt octaethylporphyrin.
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