Structural Investigations of Hydrogen Cyanide Polymers: New Insights Using TMAH Thermochemolysis/GC-MS

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Hydrogen cyanide polymers form spontaneously from HCN and traces of base catalysts. It is probable that these polymers played an important role in the early stages of chemical evolution. Nevertheless, their full structural characterization has still not been accomplished. A number of mass spectrometric methods have now been applied to this structural problem including FAB-MS, thermal desorption EI-MS, ESI-MS, APCI-MS and off-line TMAH thermochemolysis/GC-MS. This latter method causes bond cleavage and in situ methylation producing a suite of products which provides valuable insight into the substructural features of HCN polymers and also promises to serve as a sensitive diagnostic tool for detecting the presence of HCN polymers in samples from diverse sources.

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