Journal Highlight: Evaluation of the spectral accuracy of mass spectrometers using compounds containing Cl or Br atoms

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  • Published: Dec 5, 2016
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
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thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Evaluation of the spectral accuracy of mass spectrometers using compounds containing Cl or Br atoms
Two methods with lower theoretical uncertainties have been developed for evaluating the spectral accuracy in single and triple quadrupole mass spectrometers.

Evaluation of the spectral accuracy of mass spectrometers using compounds containing Cl or Br atoms

Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2016, 51, 1036-1042
Lourdes Somoano-Blanco, Melanie Borda, Adriana González Gago, Pablo Rodríguez-González and J. Ignacio Garcia Alonso

Abstract: Current procedures for the evaluation of spectral accuracy of mass spectrometers are limited by the lack of certified isotopic reference materials and the high uncertainty in the isotopic composition of natural abundance molecules. The calculated uncertainties in the ratio M + 1/M for natural abundance molecules containing any number of C, H, N and/or O atoms are close to 5% relative because of the natural variability of the isotopic composition of carbon. So, we have developed two alternative measurement procedures with much lower theoretical uncertainties for a better evaluation of spectral accuracy in both single and triple quadrupole analysers. The first method is based on the measurement of the M + 2/M, M + 4/M + 2, etc. ratios for halogenated organic compounds containing either Cl or Br. The theoretical uncertainties for these ratios because of natural variability are in the order of 0.3 to 1.0% making them suitable for the evaluation of spectral accuracy with the additional advantage that there is no need to take into account other limitations such as cluster purity or poor mass resolution. This procedure was applied to the evaluation of a single quadrupole GC-MS instruments using natural abundance PCB and PBDE standards with satisfactory results. The second method can be applied to tandem instruments and takes advantage of the loss of two halogen atoms when PCB and PBDE standards are fragmented by Collision Induced Dissociation. Theoretical SRM transition ratios can be calculated as a pure combinatorial probability with theoretical uncertainties lower than 0.1%. By combining PCBs and PBDEs with different number of halogen atoms, a mass range from 100 to 700 u and abundance ratios from 0.1 to 10 can be evaluated. The use of penta-chlorinated PCBs and/or penta-brominated PBDEs is finally recommended for the evaluation of spectral accuracy of mass spectrometers with the EI source.

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