Field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) is a gas phase atmospheric pressure separation technique that exploits the difference in the mobility of ions in alternating low and high electric fields as they are carried between two electrodes. In this thesis, a miniaturised FAIMS separation step has been applied to increase selectivity, enhance sensitivity and improve the quality of mass spectral data for rapid, high-throughput protein and peptide analysis.
In Chapter 2, charge state separations were used to generate pseudo-peptide mass fingerprint data by FAIMS-MS, permitting confident protein identification using ESI sample introduction as an alternative to MALDI-TOF-MS methods. In addition, pre-cursor ions were targeted prior to MS/MS analysis. Chapter 3 describes the analysis of intact proteins by miniaturised FAIMS-MS. Multiple charge states of intact proteins were separated on the basis of differences in differential mobility. Higher charge states were found to be transmitted at similar CVs suggesting that the miniaturised FAIMS device was separating ions on the basis of 3D structure. In addition, multiple species could be observed at the same m/z suggesting the presence of different protein conformers. In Chapter 4, miniaturised FAIMS was used to select ions on the basis of differential mobility prior to in-source collision-induced dissociation CID, LC and ToF-MS analysis for qualitative and quantitative analysis of peptides mixtures. This was applied to the analysis of co-eluting model peptides and tryptic peptides derived from human plasma proteins, allowing precursor ion selection and CID to yield product ion data suitable for peptide identification via database searching.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. The published papers in the appendix are in a separate closed access file for copyright reasons.