A new method providing enhanced sensitivity for the analysis of oligonucleotides using an on-line coupled system of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and electrospray ionization ion-trap mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) has been developed. The presented method allows the use of the standard gradient elution of 0.1 M triethylammonium acetate (TEAA) buffer (adjusted to pH 7.0 with acetic acid) and acetonitrile that is typically used for the separation of oligonucleotides in RP-HPLC. An added feature of this method is the ability to combine and mix additional 0.1 M imidazole in acetonitrile after the separation column for improved ESI-MS performance. This is similar to the post-column reaction method in liquid chromatography (LC) and the liquid sheath flow method in LC/ESI-MS, both of which offer the advantage of not compromising the chromatographic separation conditions. The application of this new method is demonstrated to afford improved sensitivity for the analysis of oligonucleotides (20-50 mer) via on-line coupled HPLC/ESI-MS analysis and purification systems.