To develop a solution-type ion beam source utilizing a wide variety of metal cluster complexes that are stable only in organic solvents, we have investigated an electrospray method for transferring ions from solutions to gas phase. As initial experiments, we have studied electrospray characteristics of ethanol solutions containing a room-temperature molten salt (i.e., an ionic liquid) and acetic acid as alternatives to solutions of metal cluster complexes. In electrospray experiments, we used a stainless-steel capillary with an inner diameter of 30 μm. Experimental results showed that electrosprayed currents increased with applied voltage in both positive-ion and negative-ion modes. In addition to positive currents, stable negative currents were also confirmed to be produced. Current exceeding 250 nA was produced at 2 kV with a flow rate of 2 μL/min at a concentration of 1 × 10-3 mol/L. It was confirmed that several nA out of electrosprayed currents were delivered through an orifice (120 μm internal diameter) into a vacuum chamber. Experimental results indicate that the electrospray method seems to be applicable to an ion beam source for utilizing massive metal cluster complexes in solutions.
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