The major drawback of liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) for the analysis of mixtures is the non-quantitative nature of these studies. The ionization efficiency of the various components in the mixture (e.g., a compound and its metabolites) can vary greatly and, therefore, relative intensities of signals cannot be related to relative abundance. A chip-based nanoelectrospray ionization source was used to compare the ionization efficiencies of compounds with different physical-chemical characteristics. The data indicate that the ionization efficiencies vary much less with the chip-based device than by LC/MS. This was ascribed to the generation of a much higher electric field around the nozzles, which supplies a large excess of protons to the small droplets and reduces/eliminates the differences in the ionization efficiency for the analytes.
(c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.