Phthalocyanines (PCs), an important class of chemicals widely used in many industrial sectors, are macrocyclic compounds possessing a heteroaromatic π-electron system with optical properties influenced by chemical structures and impurities or by-products introduced during the synthesis process. Analytical tools allowing for rapid monitoring of the synthesis processes are of significance for the development of new PCs with improved performance in many application areas. In this work, we report a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) method for rapid and convenient monitoring of PC synthesis reactions. For this class of compounds, intact molecular ions could be detected by MALDI using retinoic acid as matrix. It was shown that relative quantification results of two PC compounds could be generated by MALDI MS. This method was applied to monitor the bromination reactions of nickel- and copper-containing PCs. It was demonstrated that, compared to the traditional UV-visible method, the MALDI MS method offers the advantage of higher sensitivity while providing chemical species and relative quantification information on the reactants and products, which are crucial to process monitoring.
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