Electrospray ionization with aluminum foil: A versatile mass spectrometric technique

Bin Hu, Pui Kin So, Zhongping Yao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we developed a novel electrospray ionization (ESI) technique based on household aluminum foil (Al foil) and demonstated the desirable features and applications of this technique. Al foil can be readily cut and folded into desired configuration for effective ionization and for holding sample solution in bulk to allowing acquisition of durable ion signals. The present technique was demonstrated to be applicable in analysis of a wide variety of samples, ranging from pure chemical and biological compounds, e.g., organic compounds and proteins, to complex samples in liquid, semi-solid, and solid states, e.g., beverages, skincare cream, and herbal medicines. The inert, hydrophobic and impermeable surface of Al foil allows convenient and effective on-target extraction of solid samples and on-target sample clean-up, i.e., removal of salts and detergents from proteins and peptides, extending ESI device from usually only for sample loading and ionization to including sample processing. Moreover, Al foil is an excellent heat-conductor and highly heat-tolerant, permitting direct monitoring of thermal reactions, e.g., thermal denaturation of proteins. Overall, the present study showed that Al-foil ESI could be an economical and versatile method that allows a wide range of applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2014


  • Aluminum foil
  • Direct analysis
  • Electrospray ionization
  • Mass spectrometry
  • On-target

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrospray ionization with aluminum foil: A versatile mass spectrometric technique'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this