Indexed on: 18 Apr '13Published on: 18 Apr '13Published in: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Poly(2-oxazoline)s are important polymers and can be considered as pseudo-peptides which makes them important for biomedical and life science applications. This prompts the need for a detailed characterization of these polymers via different analytical tools such as mass spectrometry. Here, the energy-variable collision-induced dissociation (CID) of poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s was studied by electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-QTOFMS/MS) to gain further structural information about this polymer type.All polymers were analyzed using manual flow injection of samples into an ESI-QTOF mass spectrometer. Mass spectra (MS and MS/MS) were obtained in the positive ion mode over a mass-to-charge (m/z) range from 50 to 3000.The dependency of the fragmentation patterns as a function of collision energy was examined and the characteristic collision energy (CCE or CE50 ) values for various poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s with different end-groups were calculated. The effect of molar masses on the CCE values was investigated via the survival yield (SY) method and a linear relationship between CCE values and the degree of polymerization for the PEtOx polymers was observed.This study showed that ESI-MS/MS is very useful for differentiating poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s with different end-groups by varying the collision energy. The SY method has the potential to determine the importance of the end-groups on the fragmentation behavior of this polymer type.