Liquid chromatography (LC) Mass Spectrometry (MS), LCMS, is a hyphenated analytical technique. As its name implies it is actually two instrumental techniques, a combination of instrumentation that allows for the analysis of complex mixtures of chemicals. It combines the separating abilities of LC, which is used to separate complex compounds, with the resolving and molecular identifying power of mass spectrometry. Using LC, the separation of the sample components occurs based upon the interactions of these compounds with the mobile and stationary phases, and the degree of compound separation is related to each compound's affinity for the mobile phase. As each component elutes off the column, it is desolvated into the gas phase and ionized at an ionization source, whereupon it enters the mass spectrometer where it is ionized and for mass analysis. LC-MS is able to analyze complex mixtures and provides high specificity.
Applications of LC-MS: