Nucleobases in supercritical fluids
This work highlights the use of supercritical fluids (SCF) as an analytical tool for the transfer of a group of non-volatile molecules, namely nucleobases, into the gas phase. The most commonly used SCF carbon dioxide was found inefficient in dissolving the nucleobases. Therefore, a mixture of ethylene (p_c = 50.6 bar and T_c = 9.35 C) with a cosolvent was used as the SC solvent. A new bracketing method was developed for detecting the critical point (CP) of pure fluids and diluted mixtures of
... luted mixtures of fluids. The shift in CP of ethylene on addition of ethanol was determined and related to theoretical calculations by using the Soave Redlich Kwong equation of state. Comparing the experimental results to theoretical methods for calculating the CP showed large deviations. The critical temperature shifted by only 5.5 C when the mole fraction of the cosolvent i.e. ethanol was 0.054. Five biologically relevant were dissolved in SC ethylene using 3% of ethanol as cosolvent. The supersonic molecular beam composition of the expanded solution was analyzed quantitatively using a quadrupole mass spectrometer and the ratio of the nucleobases to ethylene in the beam was found to be of the order of 10^-4 to 10^-5. Surface deposition of the nucleobases through SCF solutions was carried out and the morphology was recorded using Atomic Force Microscopy. Remarkable differences were observed while comparing the morphology obtained after deposition using rapid expansion of supercritical solutions (RESS) and drop casting method. These differences are discussed in terms of diffusion, rate of evaporation of the solvent, degree of supersaturation, and the nucleation process.