Mass Spectrometry of Large, Fragile, and Involatile Molecules

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Science  15 Oct 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4569, pp. 247-254
DOI: 10.1126/science.218.4569.247


Desorption ionization makes it possible to obtain mass spectra of molecules whose vaporization by heating may lead to thermal degradation. Several methods are in use, but in general desorption is achieved by particle or photon bombardment of the sample and the mass spectra obtained by different methods are fundamentally similar. Desorption ionization techniques have been used to obtain mass spectra of biomolecules, including peptides, antibiotics, and oligosaccharides, for which normal mass spectral methods have been of limited power. Several examples are given of recent applications of these new techniques, and prospects for their further evolution are discussed.