Queen's University

A Microstructured Fiber with Defined Borosilicate Regions to Produce a Radial Micronozzle Array for Nanoelectrospray Ionization

Diagram from Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry project, by Queen's researcher and chemistry professor, Dr. Richard Oleschuk This work highlights the possibility of using microstructured fibres with predefined, doped regions to produce functional microstructures at a fibre facet with differential chemical etching. A specially designed silica microstructured fibre (MSF) that possesses specific boron-doped silica regions was fabricated for the purpose of generating a radial micronozzle array. The MSF was drawn from a preform comprising pure silica capillaries surrounded by boron-doped silica rods. Different etching rates of the boron-doped and silica regions at the fiber facet produces raised nozzles where the silica capillaries were placed. Fabrication parameters were explored in relation to the fidelity and protrusion length of the nozzle. Using etching alone, the nozzle protrusion length was limited, and the inner diameter of the channels in the array is expanded. However, with the addition of a protective water counter flow, nozzle protrusion is increased to 60 μm with a limited increase in hole diameter. The radial micronozzle array generated nine individual electrosprays which were characterized using spray current measurements and related to theoretical prediction. Signal enhancement for the higher charge state ions for two peptides showed a substantial signal enhancement compared to conventional emitter technology. (Read More)