Graphene-Coated Glass Substrate for Continuous Wave Laser Desorption and Atmospheric Pressure Mass Spectrometric Imaging of a Live Hippocampal Tissue

Jae Young Kim, Heejin Lim, Sun Young Lee, Cheol Song, Ji Won Park, Hyeon Ho Shin, Dong-Kwon Lim, Dae Won Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The atmospheric pressure mass spectrometric (AP-MS) imaging technology combined with an inverted optical microscopic system is a powerful tool for determining the presence and spatial distributions of specific biomolecules of interest in live tissues. Efficient desorption and ionization are essential to acquire mass spectrometric (MS) information in an ambient environment. In this study, we demonstrate a new and efficient desorption process using a graphene-coated glass substrate and a continuous wave (CW) laser for high-resolution AP-MS imaging of a live hippocampal tissue. We found that desorption of biomolecules in a live tissue slice was possible with the aid of a graphene-coated glass substrate and indirect application of a 532 nm CW laser on the graphene substrate. Interestingly, the desorption efficiency of a live tissue on the graphene-coated substrate was strongly dependent on the number of graphene layers. Single-layer graphene was found to be the most sensitive substrate for efficient desorption and reproducible high-resolution hippocampal tissue imaging applications. The subsequent ionization process using nonthermal plasma generated sufficient amounts of molecular ions to obtain high-resolution two-dimensional MS images of the cornu ammonis and the dentate gyrus regions of the hippocampus. Therefore, graphene-coated substrates could be a promising platform to induce an efficient desorption process essential for highly reproducible ambient MS imaging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1



  • ambient mass spectrometry
  • graphene-coated substrate
  • hippocampal tissue
  • laser desorption
  • mass spectrometry imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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