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Impact of ion cloud densities on the measurement of relative ion abundances in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry: experimental observations of coulombically induced cyclotron radius perturbations and ion cloud dephasing rates.

  • Gordon, E F
  • Muddiman, D C
Published Article
Journal of mass spectrometry : JMS
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2001
PMID: 11288202


Fundamental research into the quantitative properties of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) has yielded interesting observations, especially in terms of factors affecting the accuracy of relative ion abundances. However, most of the previous discussions have focused on theoretical systems, or systems of limited scope. In this paper, we document ion motion attributes of a 30 spectra (six samples, five replicates each) system previously established as linear over two orders of magnitude. Observed behaviors include the perturbation of one charged species (cyclosporin A, CsA) of low ion density to a cyclotron orbit of greater radius than that of an almost identical, but slightly mass-separated species (CsG) with a higher ion density. This radial perturbation is attributed to the coulombic repulsion between the two ion clouds as they interact during the excitation process, as previously proposed by Uechi and Dunbar. Magnitudes of the perturbation were confirmed by making cyclotron radii determinations utilizing the ratio of the third-to-first harmonics for the charged species of interest. It was found that these radial differences can account for as much as a 55% signal bias in favor of CsA for a single sample and a >20% positive bias in the slope of the regressed data set. A second behavior noted that also contributes to the potential inaccuracy of relative ion abundance measurements is the difference in signal decay rates for CsA and CsG. Damping constants and initial time domain signal amplitudes were evaluated using segmented Fourier transforms. Discrepancies in decay rates were not expected from two species that have essentially identical collisional cross-sections. However, it has been observed that the faster decay rates are observed by the species of lower ion cloud density. We have attributed this differential signal decay phenomenon to the rates of loss of phase coherence for the two ion clouds. Previously, others have reported that less dense ion clouds are more susceptible to shearing and other disruptive forces during the course of their excited cyclotron motion. Our experimental evidence supports that it is the loss of cloud coherence that accounts for the signal loss over time, with the less dense cloud de-phasing more quickly. As the ion populations of the two investigated species near equivalence, so do their time constants.

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