Anal. Chem. 2019, 91, 23, 15130–15137Publication Date:October 30, 2019
Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR MS) provides the resolution and mass accuracy needed to analyze complex mixtures such as crude oil. When mixtures contain many different components, a competitive effect within the ICR cell takes place that hampers the detection of a potentially large fraction of the components. Recently, a new data collection technique, which consists of acquiring several spectra of small mass ranges and assembling a complete spectrum afterward, enabled the observation of a record number of peaks with greater accuracy compared to broadband methods. There is a need for statistical methods to combine and preprocess segmented acquisition data. A particular challenge of quadrupole isolation is that near the window edges there is a drop in intensity, hampering the stitching of consecutive windows. We developed an algorithm called Rhapso to stitch peak lists corresponding to multiple different m/z regions from crude oil samples. Rhapso corrects potential edge effects to enable the use of smaller windows and reduce the required overlap between windows, corrects mass shifts between windows, and generates a single peak list for the full spectrum. Relative to a stitching performed manually, Rhapso increased the data processing speed and avoided potential human errors, simplifying the subsequent chemical analysis of the sample. Relative to a broadband spectrum, the stitched output showed an over 2-fold increase in assigned peaks and reduced mass error by a factor of 2. Rhapso is expected to enable routine use of this spectral stitching method for ultracomplex samples, giving a more detailed characterization of existing samples and enabling the characterization of samples that were previously too complex to analyze.