Desorption/ionization on silicon for small molecules:a promising alternative to MALDI TOF.

  • Agnieszka Kraj Neurobiochemistry Unit, Faculty of Chemistry and Regional Laboratory, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.;
  • Tomasz Dylag
  • Anna Gorecka-Drzazga
  • Sylwester Bargiel
  • Jan Dziubanand
  • Jerzy Silberring


A method has been developed for laser desorption/ionization of catecholamines from porous silicon. This methodology is particularly attractive for analysis of small molecules. MALDI TOF mass spectrometry, although a very sensitive technique, utilizes matrices that need to be mixed with the sample prior to their analysis. Each matrix produces its own background, particularly in the low-molecular mass region. Therefore, detection and identification of molecules below 400 Da can be difficult. Desorption/ionization of samples deposited on porous silicon does not require addition of a matrix, thus, spectra in the low-molecular mass region can be clearly readable. Here, we describe a method for the analysis of catecholamines. While MALDI TOF is superior for proteomics/peptidomics, desorption/ionization from porous silicon can extend the operating range of a mass spectrometer for studies on metabolomics (small organic molecules and their metabolites, such as chemical neurotransmitters, prostaglandins, steroids, etc.).