Metal-complex formation in continuous-flow ligand-exchange reactors studied by electrospray mass spectrometry

J.G. Krabbe, A.V. den Boer, G. van der Zwan, H. Lingeman, W.M.A. Niessen, H. Irth

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry was used to investigate complex formation of different metal complexes in a continuous-flow ligand-exchange reactor. A computer program was developed based on normal equilibrium calculations to predict the formation of various metal-ligand complexes. Corresponding to these calculations, infusion electrospray mass spectrometric experiments were performed to investigate the actual complex formation in solution. The data clearly show good correlation between the theoretically calculated formation of metal-ligand complexes and the experimental mass spectrometric data. Moreover, the approach demonstrates that the influence of the pH can be investigated using a similar approach. Indirectly, these infusion experiments provide information on relative binding constants of different ligands towards a metal-ion. To demonstrate this, a continuous-flow ligand-exchange detection system with mass spectrometric detection was developed. Injection of ligands, with different affinity for the metal-ion, into the reactor shows good correlation between binding constants and the response in the ligand-exchange detection system. Additional information on the introduced ligand, and the complexes formed after introduction of the ligand, can be obtained from interpretation of the mass spectra. © 2007 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-13
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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