Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 244 (2-3), 155-163, 2005.

Direct CIMS for the determination of mixtures of fatty alcohols from octanol to octadecanol

Axel Patrick Ligona, and Siegmar Gäbb

aInstitute of Environmental Research (INFU), University of Dortmund, Otto-Hahn-Strasse 6, 44221 Dortmund, Germany
bDepartment of Analytical Chemistry, University of Wuppertal, Gauss-Strasse 20, 42097 Wuppertal, Germany

Received 19 April 2005

Received 17 June 2005

Accepted 21 June 2005


The possibility of using direct chemical-ionization mass spectrometry to determine fatty alcohols in technical mixtures was examined. CH4, i-C4H10, H2S, NH3 and (CH3)3−nNHn were examined as reactant gases. Methane, because its proton affinity is significantly lower than those of the alcohols, and isobutane lead to an overlapping pattern of fragment ions, which prevents evaluation of the spectra. H2S does not form such interfering fragment ions; it forms only the quasi-molecular ions [M − 17]+, which serve for the quantitative detection, and [M − 1]+ at low intensity. The detection limits of the alcohols in methanol are between 0.007 and 0.025%. NH3 and the amines (CH3)3−nNHn also generate no fragment ions. Instead, they form adduct ions of the form [ROH···Hn+1N(CH3)3−n]+, where n = 0–3. The catalytic action of the fatty alcohols in the formation of the dimers ((CH3)3−nNHn)2H+ does interfere here, however. The detection limits by NH3-CIMS of the alcohols in a mixture are between 0.01 and 0.02%.

Keywords: Chemical-ionization mass spectrometry; Fatty alcohols; Process analysis; Reactant gases