Different metal surfaces in the form of transmission electron microscope grids were examined as support surfaces in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry with a view towards enhancement of peptide signal intensity. The observed enhancement between 5-fold and 20-fold relative to the normal stainless steel slide was investigated by applying the thermal desorption model for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization. A simple model evaluates the impact that the thermal properties of the metals have on the ion yield of the analyte. It was observed that there was not a direct, or strong, correlation between the thermal properties of the metals and the corresponding ion yield of the peptides. The effects of both fixed and variable laser irradiances versus ion yield were also examined for the respective metals studied. In all cases the use of transmission electron microscope grids required much lower laser irradiances in order to generate similar peak intensities as those observed with a stainless steel surface.
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