Paul M. Mayer

Gas-Phase Ion Chemistry

Mass Spectrometry


PhD Chemistry Ottawa 1994
BSc Chemistry Manitoba 1990

122 D'Iorio Hall
ph 613 562 5800 x 6038
fax 613 562 5170

Gas Phase Ion Chemistry

This area of my research focuses on the dynamics of the reactions of gas-phase ions. The work involves studying the mechanisms for ion dissociation and reactivity in mass spectrometry and the energetic and entropic factors that influence this reactivity. We pursue this work experimentally with mass spectrometry and theoretically with statistical rate theory and computational chemistry.

Ongoing research projects include the unimolecular chemistry of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon ions as well as their substituted analogues.  Over the past 30 years of the so-called PAH hypothesis these molecules have been argued to be involved in shielding organic reactions in the interstellar medium (ISM) and playing an active role catalyzing these reactions, especially H2 formation. As part of my collaboration with a group in Toulouse, France, we are determining the energetics, entropics and mechanisms for the photodissociation of these species and modeling experiments on their reactivity with H and H2 with statistical rate theories in an effort to put a solid foundation under these hypotheses, or dispell them completely once and for all.  The work involves tandem mass spectrometry done in my lab, kinetics measurements done with the PIRENEA apparatus in Toulouse and imaging PEPICO (photoelectron photoion coincidence) measurements done at the Swiss Light Source.  

Employing Analytical Chemistry to Combat Falsified and Substandard Pharmaceuticals in Developing Countries

Falsified and substandard pharmaceuticals is a knwon problem in the develping world.  There is significant anicdotal evidence of the wide-spread occurance of such drugs and their affect on population health.  In this research focus, funded by a Gates FOundation "Grand Challenges Exploration" grant, we have been working on the analysis of drugs from a variety of developing contexts by UPLC-UV instrumental analysis with the aim of providing sertious scientific evidence for substandard medications to give amunition to those interested in pushing for tigher regualtions and international treaties with "teeth".  In addition, we are developing a portable FT-IR spectrophotometer (in partnership with Agilent Technologies) for identifiying and quantifying the active ingredients in pharmaceutical formulations with the end goal of identifying substandard drugs BEFORE they get to the patient.