Ultrathin graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) nanosheets served as a novel matrix for the detection of small molecules by negative ion matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) was described for the first time. In comparison with conventional organic matrices and graphene matrix, the use of g-C3N4 nanosheet matrix showed free matrix background interference and increased signal intensity in the analysis of amino acids, nucleobases, peptides, bisphenols (BPs), and nitropolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAHs). A systematic comparison of g-C3N4 nanosheets with positive and negative ion modes revealed that mass spectra produced by g-C3N4 nanosheets in negative ion mode were featured by singly deprotonated ion without matrix interference, which was rather different from the complicated alkali metal complexes in positive ion mode. Good salt tolerance and reproducibility allowed the determination of 1-nitropyrene (1-NP) in sewage, and its corresponding detection limit was lowered to 1 pmol. In addition, the ionization mechanism of the g-C3N4 nanosheets as matrix was also discussed. The work expands its application scope of g-C3N4 nanosheets and provides an alternative approach for small molecules.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Analytical Chemistry