Relative binding affinities of molecular capsules investigated by ESI-mass spectrometry

Reza Zadmard, Arno Kraft, Thomas Schrader, Uwe Linne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


ESI-MS(/MS) has been used as a method which allows the fast, unambiguous and sensitive simultaneous detection and relative stability approximation of supramolecular assemblies in mixtures. In spite of the obvious fundamental differences between solution and gas phase. ESI-MS in the case of self-assembled molecular capsules has been shown to produce very similar results to single binding experiments monitored by NMR titrations as well as conformational searches performed by Monte-Carlo simulations. MS/MS experiments reveal the same relative order of gas phase stabilities as previously found in solution. Moreover, proton transfer reactions which lead to new molecular capsules, are not detectable in the time-averaged NMR spectrum. However, the newly produced species are found in the complex mixtures by ESI-MS and can be conveniently characterized by subsequent MS/MS experiments: in a collision-induced dissociation the single half-spheres are easily discovered and structurally assigned. Thus, ESI-MS has worked as a valuable tool for the rapid screening of complex supramolecular mixtures and in combination with MS/MS experiments elucidated both the path of unexpected side reactions as well as the thermodynamic gas-phase stabilities of all components in the mixture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4233-4239
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2004


  • Binding affinities
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Molecular capsules
  • Self-assembly
  • Supramolecular chemistry


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