DOI: 10.1126/science.adj8342 ISSN: 0036-8075

Differentiating enantiomers by directional rotation of ions in a mass spectrometer

Xiaoyu Zhou, Zhuofan Wang, Shuai Li, Xianle Rong, Jiexun Bu, Qiang Liu, Zheng Ouyang
  • Multidisciplinary

Conventional mass spectrometry does not distinguish between enantiomers, or mirror-image isomers. Here we report a technique to break the chiral symmetry and to differentiate enantiomers by inducing directional rotation of chiral gas-phase ions. Dual alternating current excitations were applied to manipulate the motions of trapped ions, including the rotation around the center of mass and macro movement around the center of the trap. Differences in collision cross section were induced, which could be measured by ion cloud profiling at high resolutions above 10,000. High-field ion mobility and tandem mass spectrometry analyses of the enantiomers were combined and implemented by using a miniature ion trap mass spectrometer. The effectiveness of the developed method was demonstrated with a variety of organic compounds including amino acids, sugars, and several drug molecules, as well as a proof-of-principle ligand optimization study for asymmetric hydrogenation.

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