Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - POLY-MS (Polymer characterisation using electron capture dissociation and collision-induced dissociation multistage mass spectrometry)

Tandem mass spectrometry is of great importance for structure analysis of polymers. Yet a lot of basic information on fragmentation of polymers in mass spectrometry is missing from the literature. The POLY-MS project focussed on the advancement of the understanding of the behaviour of polymers in multistage mass spectrometry.

To this end model polymer systems were synthesised and subjected to multistage mass spectrometry. Moreover, realistic samples from normal polymer research practice were prepared and subjected to analysis. In these cases the added value of application of multistage mass spectrometry, where necessary in combination with advanced separation techniques, was clearly demonstrated.

The project also demonstrated the potential for expansion of the capabilities of standard ion trap mass spectrometric instrumentation. An example was the use of the isotope ratios of fragments for structure elucidation purposes. This could be done on standard ion trap instrumentation without a lot of optimisation. Another example, which required optimisation efforts and might for some instruments even require software modifications, was the demonstrated use of fragmentation energy as an indicator of the polymer type.

Understanding the size dependent behaviour of fragmentation of polymers as researched in the project was an important step forward for polymer mass spectrometry. The integrated research approach which combined polymer synthesis, general polymer characterisation, separation, multistage mass spectrometry and modelling proved to be a prerequisite for success.

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