A comparison of electron ionization mass spectra obtained at 70 eV, low electron energies, and with cold EI and their NIST library identification probabilities

Ksenia J. Margolin Eren, Oneg Elkabets, Aviv Amirav*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Electron ionization (EI) mass spectra of 46 compounds from several different compound classes were measured. Their molecular ion abundances were compared as obtained with 70-eV EI, with low eV EI (such as 14 eV), and with EI mass spectra of vibrationally cold molecules in supersonic molecular beams (Cold EI). We further compared these mass spectra in their National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) library identification probabilities. We found that Low eV EI is not a soft ionization method, and it has little or no influence on the molecular ion relative abundances for large molecules and those with weak or no molecular ions. Low eV EI for compounds with abundant or dominant molecular ions in their 70 eV mass spectra results in the reduction of low mass fragment ions abundances thereby reducing their NIST library identification probabilities thus rarely justifies its use in real-world applications. Cold EI significantly enhances the relative abundance of the molecular ions particularly for large compounds; yet, it retains the low mass fragment ions; hence, Cold EI mass spectra can be effectively identified by the NIST library. Different standard EI ion sources provide different 70 eV EI mass spectra. Among the Agilent technologies ion sources, the “Extractor” exhibits relatively abundant molecular ions compared with the “Inert” ion source, while the “High efficiency source” (HES) provides mass spectra with depleted molecular ions compared with the “Inert” ion source or NIST library mass spectra. These conclusions are demonstrated and supported by experimental data in nine figures and two tables.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4646
JournalJournal of Mass Spectrometry
Volume55
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities356/15
Israel Science Foundation

    Keywords

    • GC-MS
    • NIST library identification probabilities
    • cold EI
    • electron ionization mass spectra
    • low eV EI
    • low voltage electron ionization

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