Detailed structural elucidation of polyesters and acrylates using Fourier transform mass spectrometry

Simonsick Jr., William J.; Petkovska, Violeta I.
October 2008
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Oct2008, Vol. 392 Issue 4, p575
Academic Journal
The detailed structural characterization of complex polymer architectures, like copolymers and polymer mixtures, by mass spectrometry presents a challenge. Even though soft ionization analyses revolutionized the characterization of large molecules and provided a means for determining the polymer’s molecular weight distribution, polydispersity, and end groups, full microstructure elucidation and monomer sequencing by soft ionization alone is not possible. The combination of high-resolution Fourier transform mass spectrometry (FTMS) and tandem mass spectrometry (MSn) provides a powerful analytical tool for addressing these challenges. This tool was used in our work to separate and identify the products of polymerization between 12-hydroxystearic acid (HSA) and stearic acid (SA), to provide precise information about the exact location of caprolactones on the Tris(2-hydroxyethyl)isocyanurate (THEIC) molecule, and to sequence a glycidyl methacrylate/methyl methacrylate (GMA/MMA) copolymer. The results highlight the value of ultrahigh resolution and tandem mass spectrometry for fine structural characterization and sequencing of polymers.


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