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Definition: electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

A mass spectrometry technique used for analysis of nonvolatile compounds such as proteins and macromolecules. The technique involves preparing electrically charged droplets from analyte molecules dissolved in solvent. The electrically charged droplets enter a vacuum chamber where the solvent is evaporated. Evaporation of solvent reduces the droplet size, thereby increasing the coulombic repulsion within the droplet. As the charged droplets get smaller, the excess charge within them causes them to disintegrate and release analyte molecules. The volatilized analyte molecules are then analyzed by mass spectrometry.

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