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Measurement of the Population of Electrosprayed Deprotomers of Coumaric Acids Using UV–Vis Laser Photodissociation Spectroscopy

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JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Jul 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2021
DatePublished (current) - 3 Aug 2021
Number of pages12
Early online date3/08/21
Original languageEnglish


The measurement of deprotonation sites in multifunctional molecules following electrospray ionization is important to better inform a wide range of spectroscopic and photophysical studies that use electrospray to prepare molecular species for study in the gas phase. We demonstrate that low-resolution UV–vis laser photodissociation spectroscopy can be applied in situ to identify the deprotomers of three coumaric acids, trans-para-coumaric acid (CMA), trans-caffeic acid (CA), and trans-ferulic acid (FA), formed via electrospray. Electronic absorption spectra of the deprotonated coumaric acids are recorded via photodepletion and photofragmentation following electrospray from solutions of ethanol and acetonitrile. By comparing the experimental spectra to wave function theory calculations, we are able to confirm the presence of phenoxide and carboxylate deprotomers upon electrospray for all three coumaric acids, when sprayed from both protic and aprotic solvents. Ratios of the phenoxide:carboxylate deprotomers are obtained by generating summed theoretical absorption spectra that reproduce the experimental spectra. We find that choice of electrospray solvent has little effect on the ratio of deprotomers obtained for deprotonated CMA and CA but has a greater impact for FA. Our results are in excellent agreement with previous work conducted on deprotonated CMA using IR spectroscopy and demonstrate that UV photodissociation spectroscopy of electrosprayed ions has potential as a diagnostic tool for identifying deprotomeric species.

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© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society

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