An electrospray ion source and method of operation includes the application of pulsed voltage to prevent electrolysis of analytes with a low electrochemical potential. The electrospray ion source can include an emitter, a counter electrode, and a power supply. The emitter can include a liquid conduit, a primary working electrode having a liquid contacting surface, and a spray tip, where the liquid conduit and the working electrode are in liquid communication. The counter electrode can be proximate to, but separated from, the spray tip. The power system can supply voltage to the working electrode in the form of a pulse wave, where the pulse wave oscillates between at least an energized voltage and a relaxation voltage. The relaxation duration of the relaxation voltage can range from 1 millisecond to 35 milliseconds. The pulse duration of the energized voltage can be less than 1 millisecond and the frequency of the pulse wave can range from 30 to 800 Hz.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under contract no. DE-AC05-00OR22725 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.