Analysis of poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(propylene oxide) block copolymers by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry using collision induced dissociation
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) was used to analyse the block length of commercially available block copolymers of poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(propylene oxide) (PEO- b-PPO) based on the fragmentation behaviour in collision induced dissociation (CID) experiments. MALDI-CID-TOF2 analysis is a complex procedure depending on a number of different experimental parameters. Therefore, a step-by-step procedure was used starting with PEG and PPG standards, PEG-PPG blends and endgroup-functionalized PPGs, to understand the fragmentation behaviour of the different species. These results showed that characteristic fragment patterns of the homopolymers and PEG-PPG mixtures can be obtained that facilitate the interpretation of the fragment spectra of PEO-b-PPO di- and triblock copolymers. It was found that di- and triblock copolymers can be differentiated by their fragment spectra. In addition, the sequence of monomer units in the diblock copolymers could be determined. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.