Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




William E Cooke


We report laser desorption from a Room Temperature Ionic Liquid (RTIL) as a novel source for time of flight mass spectrometry. We use the 2nd harmonic of an Nd:YAG laser to deposit intensities of 1-50 MW/cm2 via backside illumination onto our RTIL desorption sample. A microstructured metal grid situated on top of a glass microscope slide coated with RTIL serves as our desorption sample. The RTIL we use, 1-Butyl, 3-Methylimidazolium Hexafluorophosphate, remains liquid at pressures below 10-8 torr. The use of liquid desorption sample allows for improved surface conditions, homogeneity and sample life as compared to Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI) techniques. Our desorption technique is also unique as it allows the study of both multiphoton and acoustic desorption processes within the same time of flight spectra. Our technique yields intrinsically high resolution, low noise data. We observe differences between ion species in their preference for desorption by a particular desorption method. Specifically, we observe desorption solely by acoustic means of an entire RTIL molecule adducted with an RTIL cation. Finally, we report the applicability of this technique for the desorption of biomolecules.



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