Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Hilkka I. Kenttämaa

Committee Member 1

Chengde Mao

Committee Member 2

Peter T. Kissinger

Committee Member 3

Christopher Uyeda


High-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (MSn) coupled with separation techniques, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC), has proven to be a valuable tool for the molecular level characterization of complex mixtures. The utilization of different methods, such as collision-activated dissociation (CAD) and gas-phase ion/molecule reactions, facilitates structural elucidation of the components in complex mixtures. This thesis primarily focuses on the development of tandem mass spectrometric methods for solving analytical challenges associated with the characterization of complex mixtures produced during enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations and in drug discovery. Chapter 2 describes the instrumentation used for the research discussed in this thesis. In Chapter 3, the gas-phase reactivity of protonated polyfunctional model compounds toward trimethoxymethylsilane (TMMS) reagent and the utility of this reagent in the mass spectrometric identification of sulfone and aromatic functionalities in drug metabolites is discussed. Chapter 4 discusses an analytical methodology, namely Distillation Precipitation Fractionation Mass Spectrometry (DPF-MS), developed to perform molecular level profiling of crude oil. This analytical methodology involves the optimization of different mass spectrometric and ionization methods for the semi-quantitative molecular level characterization of crude oil and its fractions. Chapter 5 discusses a sensitive analytical method developed for the identification and quantitation of a tracer (2-fluorobenzoic acid) in oil reservoir brine produced during enhanced oil recovery. This method is based on solid-phase extraction followed by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)based HPLC-MSn.