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Published December 15, 2002 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Evaporation and Discharge Dynamics of Highly Charged Droplets of Heptane, Octane, and p-Xylene Generated by Electrospray Ionization


We report studies of the evaporation and discharge dynamics of highly charged droplets generated by electrospray ionization from n-heptane, n-octane, and p-xylene doped with Stadis-450, a conductivity-enhancing agent. A phase Doppler anemometer (PDA) characterizes individual droplets moving through the uniform electric field within an ion mobility cell according to size, velocity, and charge. Repeated reversal of the electric field allows multiple PDA measurements on selected droplets with diameters ranging from 3 to 60 μm and up to 10^7 elementary positive charges. This "ping-pong" technique provides individual droplet histories from which we determine the dynamics of solvent evaporation and charge loss. On average, n-heptane discharges at 101% of the Rayleigh limit of charge, while n-octane and p-xylene droplets discharge at 87% and 89% of their respective limits. Discharge events release an average of 19% of the charge in n-heptane and 17% of the charge in both n-octane and p-xylene. Within the limits of the measurements, no detectable change in droplet diameter accompanies observed discharge events, indicating the loss of a relatively small fraction of the total volume. We compare these results to previous experiments, theoretical models for droplet evaporation and discharge, and predictions from the Rayleigh model. We report both Stadis-450 and triethylamine mass spectra in octane and discuss issues regarding the use of hydrocarbon solvents in electrospray mass spectrometry.

Additional Information

© 2002 American Chemical Society. Received 26 June 2002; accepted 26 September 2002; published online 15 November 2002; published 15 December 2002. The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. J. N. Smith, whose experimental designs and insight made the current investigation possible, and Dr. Mona Shahgholi for use of the mass spectrometry facility. This work was funded by grant CHE-9727566 of the National Science Foundation. In addition, we are grateful for support from the Beckman Institute at Caltech.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023