Studies on the formation of N-methylperfluoroalkylnitrile cations from perfluoroacylphenethylamines electron ionisation mass spectrometry: unique marker ion fragments in methamphetamine analysis
ABSTRACT The mass spectra of the perfluoroacyl derivatives of methamphetamine show a unique and characteristic fragment ion identified as the N-methylperfluoroalkylnitrile cation (C(n)F(2n+1)CNCH(3))(+). This ion appears at various m/z values depending on the nature of the perfluoroacyl species and is generated via rearrangement of the perfluoroacyl immonium fragment formed by loss of the benzyl-radical from the molecular ion. Analogous ions have been described in the mass spectra of other methamphetamine-like side chain substances regardless of the aromatic ring substitution pattern. The scope and limitation of this rearrangement pathway were evaluated in this study by preparing a set of substituted phenethylamines and related compounds of varying structure. The perfluoroacyl moiety leads to the formation of the highest abundance of the N-methyl nitrile cation fragment while hydrocarbon acyl groups do not show the N-methylnitrile cation as a significant peak. The N-methyl group is required for the formation of the N-methyl nitrile cation and higher N-alkyl homologues eliminate the corresponding alkene species from the acyl immonium fragment. The loss of benzaldehyde and acetone from the perfluoroacylimmonium species produces the highest relative abundance of the unique N- methylperfluoroalkylnitrile cation.
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ABSTRACT: N-Alkylation of sulfonylbenzamides was reported recently to cause a dramatic and surprising change in electron ionization mass spectrometry (EIMS), leading to a closed-shell base peak. Only an incomplete, speculative mechanism was available at that time. The fragmentation mechanism is determined in the present work and set in the context of related compounds. Candidate reaction mechanisms were evaluated theoretically using modest density-functional calculations. The fragmentation mechanism with the lowest barriers was identified and one of its implications tested successfully by experimental (18) O-isotopic substitution. The amide oxygen atom attacks the arylsulfonyl group at the ipso position (Smiles-type rearrangement), displacing a molecule of SO2 . The resulting carboximidate radical cation has a weak C-O bond that breaks easily. The incipient aryloxyl radical abstracts a proton from the amide nitrogen to form the dominant product ion, but if the molecule is N-alkylated this cannot occur. Instead, the neutral aryloxyl radical is lost and a closed-shell, N-alkyl nitrilium ion is the major product. The Smiles-type ion fragmentation mechanism is facile for the title compounds, despite the necessity for carbonyl oxygen to serve as a nucleophile. This rearrangement probably occurs in many of the mass spectra reported for structurally similar compounds, in which the nucleophile may be a thione, arylthio, imine, methylene, or methine moiety. Published in 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 04/2014; 28(7):829-34. DOI:10.1002/rcm.6850 · 2.64 Impact Factor