Recent studies point to an additional stability of metal-complexed functionalized hydrocarbon chains. This additional stabilization is suggested to arise from a bidentate complexation of the metal cation with both the functional group and aliphatic chain, leading to more folded structures. In the present work, this issue is verified for silver complexed alkylamines by tandem mass spectrometry and ion mobility experiments combined with quantum-chemical calculations. Upon increasing the length of the hydrocarbon chains, the alkylamine/silver complexes undergo a structural transition to reach a folded structure in which the silver cation interacts with both the amine group and hydrogen atoms located at the chain end. This folding is further examined by monitoring the loss of AgH upon collision-induced dissociation experiments performed on alkylamines with different chain lengths. Ion mobility experiments performed on the fragment ions indicate that the removal of the silver cation induces the unfolding of the chain.

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Keywords Gas-phase ion chemistry, Ion mobility, Molecular dynamics, Non-covalent bonding, Quantum chemistry, Reaction mechanisms, Tandem mass spectrometry
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Journal International Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Duez, Q. (Quentin), van Huizen, N.A, Lemaur, V. (Vincent), De Winter, J. (Julien), Cornil, J. (Jérôme), Burgers, P.C, & Gerbaux, P. (2019). Silver ion induced folding of alkylamines observed by ion mobility experiments. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 435, 34–41. doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2018.10.016