To enhance the ionization efficiencies in atmospheric pressure photoionization mass spectrometry a dopant with favorable ionization energy such as chlorobenzene is typically used. These dopants are typically toxic and difficult to mix with water‐soluble organic solvents. In order to achieve a more efficient and less toxic dopant, a multicomponent mixed dopant was explored.
A multicomponent mixed dopant for non‐targeted rapid screening of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was developed and optimized using ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled to atmospheric pressure photoionization high‐resolution mass spectrometry. Various single and multicomponent mixed dopants consisting of ethanol, chlorobenzene, bromobenzene, anisole and toluene were evaluated.
Fourteen out of eighteen PAHs were successfully separated and detected at low pg/μL levels within 5 min with high mass accuracy ≤4 ppm. The optimal mixed multicomponent dopant consisted of ethanol/chlorobenzene/bromobenzene/anisole (98.975:0.1:0.9:0.025, v/v %) and it improved the limit of detection (LOD) by 2‐ to 10‐fold for the tested PAHs compared to those obtained with pure chlorobenzene.
A novel multicomponent dopant that contains 99% ethanol and 1% mixture of chlorobenzene, bromobenzene and anisole was found to be an effective dopant mixture to ionize PAHs. The developed UPLC multicomponent dopant assisted atmospheric pressure photoionization high‐resolution mass spectrometry offered a rapid non targeted screening method for detecting the PAHs at low pg/μL levels within a 5 min run time with high mass accuracy ≤4 ppm. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.