Enantiomer-specific analysis of multi-component mixtures by correlated electron imaging-ion mass spectrometry

M.M. Rafiee Fanood, N.B. Ram, C.S. Lehmann, I. Powis, M.H.M. Janssen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Simultaneous, enantiomer-specific identification of chiral molecules in multi-component mixtures is extremely challenging. Many established techniques for single-component analysis fail to provide selectivity in multi-component mixtures and lack sensitivity for dilute samples. Here we show how enantiomers may be differentiated by mass-selected photoelectron circular dichroism using an electron-ion coincidence imaging spectrometer. As proof of concept, vapours containing ∼1% of two chiral monoterpene molecules, limonene and camphor, are irradiated by a circularly polarized femtosecond laser, resulting in multiphoton near-threshold ionization with little molecular fragmentation. Large chiral asymmetries (2-4%) are observed in the mass-tagged photoelectron angular distributions. These asymmetries switch sign according to the handedness (R- or S-) of the enantiomer in the mixture and scale with enantiomeric excess of a component. The results demonstrate that mass spectrometric identification of mixtures of chiral molecules and quantitative determination of enantiomeric excess can be achieved in a table-top instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7511
Pages (from-to)7511
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Enantiomer-specific analysis of multi-component mixtures by correlated electron imaging-ion mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this