A highly interdisciplinary study ranging from computational chemistry to cultural heritage has now been published – Experimental and Computational Study of Aminoacridines as MALDI(-)-MS Matrix Materials for the Analysis of Complex Samples, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2021.  

9-aminoacridine (9-AA) is a well-known matrix material used for the MALD(-)-MS analysis. Among the other monoaminoacridines (AAs), only 3-AA has been tested once (in our cultural heritage workgroup) but the suitability of the other AAs was unknown.

To fill this gap, the capabilities of all five AAs were studied by analysing different materials (stearic acid, colophony resin, dyer’s madder, and a resinous sample from a 16th-century shipwreck). Also, a vast range of properties for these aminoacridines were experimentally or computationally characterized (including UV-Vis absorption and fluorescence spectra, proton transfer reactions, crystallization). 

The results demonstrated, that all the AAs are suitable for the MALDI(-)-MS analysis of these materials. Interestingly, 3-AA and 4-AA outperformed the other AAs (including the best-known 9-AA) and were the preferred matrices for the analysis of samples studied in this work.   



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