Kan Zhu

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Dziewatkoski

Second Advisor

Dr. James Howell

Third Advisor

Dr. Marc Perkovic

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Metal-containing compounds are often found as pollutants in the environment. Obtaining speciation information about these compounds is important to understanding toxieity and bioaccumulation. Electrospray Mass Spectrometry (ESMS) is a technique that has the potential to provide rapid and direct speciation information of solution phase metal compounds. The ionization behavior of chemical species is related to their electron affinities. The higher the electron affinity, the easier it will be reduced during the ionization process. Additionally, solvent with different polarity and surface tension will also affect the ionization and reduction products. Organo-tin compounds with more alkyl groups will be ionized more efficiently, but will be reduced more easily. The type of alkyl groups does not have significant effect. All mono-organo-tin compounds showed same spectrum and so it is with tri-organo-tin compounds. The spectra for organo-mercury compounds were different than for tin compounds in that they were characteristic of the alkylated metal ion native to the analytical solution. The spectral pattern observed represent the mass of mercury isotope plus the mass of the organo group. Other than solvent, anion may also have an effect on ionization.

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Chemistry Commons