Surface Modified Nano-Electrospray Needles Improve Sensitivity for Native Mass Spectrometry

25 March 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Native mass spectrometry (MS) and charge detection-mass spectrometry (CD-MS) have become versatile tools for characterizing a wide range of proteins and macromolecular complexes. Both commonly use nano-electrospray ionization (nESI) from pulled borosilicate needles, but some analytes are known to nonspecifically adsorb to the glass, which may lower sensitivity and limit the quality of the data. To improve the sensitivity of native MS and CD-MS, we modified the surface of nESI needles with inert surface modifiers, including polyethylene-glycol. We found that the surface modification improved the signal intensity for native MS of proteins and for CD-MS of adeno-associated viral capsids. These surface modified needles provide a simple and inexpensive method for improving the sensitivity of challenging analytes.


Native Mass Spectrometry
Charge Detection Mass Spectrometry
Electrospray Ionization
Silane Chemistry

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Supporting methods, figures, and tables


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