This study presents a novel, simple and rapid procedure for isomer differentiation by combining gas chromatography (GC), a selective self-ion/molecule reaction (SSIMR) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) in an ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS). SSIMR product ions were produced from four isomers. For aniline, SSIMR induces the formation of the molecular ion, [M+H](+), [M+CH](+), adduct ions of fragments ([M+F](+), where F represents fragment ions) and [2M-H](+). 2 and 3-Picoline produce [M+H](+), [2M-H](+) and [M+F](+), while 5-hexynenitrile produces [M+H](+), [M+F](+) and [2M+H](+) ions. The proposed method provides a relatively easy, rapid and efficient means of isomer differentiation via a SSIMR in the ITMS. Typically, isomer differentiation can be achieved within several minutes. The superiority of the SSIMR technique for isomer differentiation over electronic ionization (EI) is also demonstrated.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 17(10), pp.1030-1036