The ionization and fragmentation processes were examined for a standard sample mixture containing 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 3 nitro-PAHs (NPAHs) by gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (GC/MS) using a femtosecond laser emitting at 400, 800, or 1200 nm as the ionization source. The signal intensities of NPAHs were lower and the fragmentation more extensive compared to those values for PAHs, especially at shorter wavelengths (400 nm). These results can be explained by efficient intersystem crossing to triplet levels and the shorter excited-state lifetimes of neutral NPAHs molecules, compared to the pulse width of the laser. Fragmentation was significantly suppressed by nonresonant multiphoton ionization when a laser emitting at longer wavelengths (1200 nm) was used. This result can be explained by the absorption spectrum of the molecular ion and the excess energy remaining in the ionized state. In fact, there was no absorption band at 1200 nm for the molecular ion, and the excess energy would be minimal when a near-infrared laser is used, which suppresses the fragmentation even for NPAHs. A doubly charged molecular ion was observed for PAHs but not for NPAHs, probably owing to the higher stability of the PAH molecule, the electrons of which are more strongly bound and are more resistive to field ionization. To demonstrate the utility of this technique, the sample extracted from particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) emitted from a diesel engine was measured. NPAHs as well as PAHs were clearly determined at 1200 nm, at which the background signal arising from the interference was drastically suppressed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry