Multidimensional Nanoparticle Characterization through Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry

Chenxi Li, Amani L. Lee, Xiaoshuang Chen, William C.K. Pomerantz, Christy L. Haynes, Christopher J. Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Multidimensional techniques that combine fully or partially orthogonal characterization methods in a single setup often provide a more comprehensive description of analytes. When applied to nanoparticles, they have the potential to reveal particle properties not accessible to more conventional 1D techniques. Herein, we apply recently developed 2D characterization techniques to nanoparticles using atmospheric-pressure ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS), and we demonstrate the analytical capability of this approach using ultraporous mesostructured silica nanoparticles (UMNs). We show that IM-MS yields a 2D particle size-mass distribution function, which in turn can be used to calculate not only important 1D distributions, i.e. particle size distributions, but also nanoparticle structural property distributions not accessible by other methods, including size-dependent particle porosity and the specific pore volume distribution function. IM-MS measurement accuracy was confirmed by measurement of NIST-certified polystyrene latex particle standards. For UMNs, comparison of IM-MS results with TEM and N2 physisorption yields quantitative agreement in particle size and qualitative agreement in average specific pore volume. IM-MS uniquely shows how within a single UMN population, porosity increases with increasing particle size, consistent with the proposed UMN growth mechanism. In total, we demonstrate the potential of IM-MS as a standard approach for the characterization of structurally complex nanoparticle populations, as it yields size-specific structural distribution functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2503-2510
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by the National Science Foundation through the University of Minnesota MRSEC under Award Number DMR-1420013. X.C. was additionally supported by Department of Energy Award DE-SC0018202. In addition, parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. We thank Kanomax-FMT (White Bear Lake, MN) for providing the aerosol particle mass analyzer (APM) utilized in measurements.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

MRSEC Support

  • Primary

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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