Collisional cooling of large ions in electrospray mass spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2004 Mar 15;76(6):1754-60. doi: 10.1021/ac035406j.


Collisional cooling of ions in the rf-only multipole guides has become a method of choice for coupling electrospray sources to various mass analyzers. Normally parameters of such ion guides (length, pressure) provide enough thermalization and focusing for ions in a wide mass range. Noncovalent complexes, however, have more compact conformations than denatured biomolecules of similar mass and, therefore may not be transmitted efficiently through standard ion guides, as demonstrated by theoretical analysis, simulations, and experiments. Several methods of improving collisional cooling for large compact ions have been developed on a quadrupole time-of-flight instrument, which include operating the ion guides at higher pressure and trapping ions to increase the cooling time. Improved transmission of heavy ions obtained with those methods is studied in experiments with proteasome 20S, an oligomeric protein noncovalent complex with molecular weight around 692,000, and a few other compounds.