Spectroscopic studies of cold, gas-phase biomolecular ions
While the marriage of mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy is not new, developments over the last few years in this relationship have opened up new horizons for the spectroscopic study of biological molecules. The combination of electrospray ionization for producing large biological molecules in the gas phase together with cooled ion traps and multiple- resonance laser schemes are allowing spectroscopic investigation of individual conformations of peptides with more than a dozen amino acids. Highly resolved infrared spectra of single conformations of such species provide important benchmarks for testing the accuracy of theoretical calculations. This review presents a number of techniques employed in our laboratory and in others for measuring the spectroscopy of cold, gas-phase protonated peptides. We show examples that demonstrate the power of these techniques and evaluate their extension to still larger biological molecules.