Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Chemistry

Content Description

1 online resource (xxvi, 163 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Rabi A Musah

Committee Members

Igor Lednev, Jan Halamek, John Dane


forensic science, imaging mass spectrometry, laser ablation direct analysis in real time imaging-mass spectrometry, mass spectrometry of complex matrices, plant biochemistry, small molecule analysis, Mass spectrometry, Laser ablation, Real-time data processing, High resolution spectroscopy, Botanical chemistry

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry


Methods for the accomplishment of small molecule imaging by mass spectrometry are challenged by the need for sample pre-treatment steps such as cryo-sectioning, dehydration, chemical fixation, or application of a matrix or solvent, that must be performed to obtain interpretable spatial distribution data. Furthermore, these steps along with requirements of the mass analyzer such as high vacuum, can severely limit the range of sample types that can be analyzed by this powerful method. Here, we report the development of a laser ablation-direct analysis in real time imaging-mass spectrometry (LADI-MS) approach which couples a 213 nm Nd:YAG solid state UV laser to a direct analysis in real time (DART) ion source and high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer. This platform enables facile determination of the spatial distribution of small molecules spanning a range of polarities in a diversity of sample types, and requires no matrix, vacuum, solvent, or complicated sample pre-treatment steps. It furnishes high-resolution data, can be performed under ambient conditions on samples in their native form, and results in little to no fragmentation of analytes.