Laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS) is a widespread and powerful technique for mass analysis allowing the soft ionization of molecules such as peptides, proteins and carbohydrates. In many applications, an energy absorbing matrix has to be added to the analytes in order to protect them from being fragmented by direct laser beam. LDI-MS in conjunction with matrix is commonly referred as matrix-assisted LDI (MALDI). One of the striking disadvantages of this method is the desorption of matrix molecules, which causes interferences originating from matrix background ions in lower mass range ( < 1000 Da). This has been led to the development of a variety of different carbon based LDI sample supports, which are capable of absorbing laser light and simultaneously transfering energy to the analytes for desorption. Furthermore carbon containing sample supports are used as carrier materials for the specific binding and preconcentration of molecules out of complex samples. Their subsequent analysis with MALDI mass spectrometry allows performing studies in metabolomics and proteomics. Finally a thin layer of carbon significantly improves sensitivity concerning detection limit. Analytes in low femtomole and attomole range can be detected in this regard. In the present article, these aspects are reviewed from patents where nano-based carbon materials are comprehensively utilized.
Keywords: Carbon, diamond, graphite, nanotubes, fullerenes, nanowires, MALDI, SELDI, MELDI, LDI-MS
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