March 2, 2023
Atomistic simulations for investigation of substrate effects on lipid in-source fragmentation in Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
AbstractIn beam-based ionization methods, the substrate plays an important role on the desorption mechanism of molecules from surfaces. Both the specific orientation that a molecule adopts at a surface and the strength of the molecule-surface interaction can greatly influence desorption processes, which in turn will affect the ion yield and the degree of in source-fragmentation of a molecule. In the beam-based method of secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), in-source fragmentation can be significant and molecule specific, due to the hard ionization method of using a primary ion beam for molecule desorption. To investigate the role of the substrate on orientation and in-source fragmentation, we have used atomistic simulations — molecular dynamics in combination with density functional theory calculations — to explore the desorption of a sphingolipid (palmitoylsphingomyelin) from a model surface (gold). We then compare SIMS data from this model system to our modeling findings. Using this approach, we found that the combined adsorption and binding energy of certain bonds associated with the headgroup fragments (C3H8N+, C5H12N+, C5H14NO+, and C5H15PNO4+) was a good predictor for fragment intensities (as indicated by relative ion yields). This is the first example where atomistic simulations has been applied in beam-based ionization of lipids, therefore presents a new approach to study biointerfacial lipid ordering effects on SIMS imaging.
Published: March 2, 2023