1,5-Diaminonaphtalene Is a Highly Performing Electron-Transfer Secondary-Reaction Matrix for Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry of Indolenine-Based Croconaines

ACS Omega. 2018 Dec 19;3(12):17821-17827. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.8b02575. eCollection 2018 Dec 31.


Croconaine dyes are appealing molecules synthesized via the condensation of croconic acid and reactive electron-donating aromatic or heterocyclic systems. Here, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS) investigation of indolenine-based croconaines is presented for the first time. Archetype proton-transfer matrices, such as 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB) and α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (CHCA), 9-aminoacridine (9AA) as the protonating/deprotonating matrix, and electron-transfer (ET) secondary-reaction matrices, such as 1,5-diaminonapthalene (DAN) and trans-2-[3-(4-t-butyl-phenyl)-2-methyl-2-propenylidene]malononitrile (DCTB), were investigated. DHB, CHCA, and 9AA generate a mix of odd-electron molecular ions and protonated, sodiated, and potassiated adducts. Among the ET matrices, DAN was found to be capable of directing the ionization process toward the exclusive formation of odd-electron molecular ions M+• without fragmentation. MALDI tandem MS provides useful structural characterization of croconaine dyes, thus making identification very straightforward for all investigated compounds. Interestingly the fragmentation of bromo-containing croconaines revealed, for the first time, the gas-phase formation of a bromime cation [Br]+.