The application of mass spectrometry to polymer science has rapidly increased since the development of MALDI-TOF MS. This review summarizes current polymer analysis methods using MALDI-TOF MS, which has been extensively applied to analyze the average molecular weight of biopolymers and synthetic polymers. Polymer sequences have also been analyzed to reveal the structures and composition of monomers. In addition, the analysis of unknown end-groups and the determination of polymer concentrations are very important applications. Hyphenated techniques using MALDI-tandem MS have been used for the analysis of fragmentation patterns and end-groups, and also the combination of SEC and MALDI-TOF MS techniques is recommended for the analysis of complex polymers. Moreover, MALDI-TOF MS has been utilized for the observation of polymer degradation. Ion mobility MS, TOF-SIMS, and MALDI-TOF-imaging are also emerging technologies for polymer characterization because of their ability to automatically fractionate and localize polymer samples. The determination of polymer characteristics and their relation to the material properties is one of the most important demands for polymer scientists; the development of software and instrument for higher molecular mass range (> 100 kD) will increase the applications of MALDI-TOF MS for polymer scientists.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)