This paper describes a new technique for fabrication of nanostructured porous silicon (pSi) for laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry. Porous silicon nanowell arrays were prepared by argon plasma etching through an alumina mask. Porous silicon prepared in this way proved to be an excellent substrate for desorption/ionization on silicon (DIOS) mass spectrometry (MS) using adenosine, Pro-Leu-Gly tripeptide, and [Des-Arg(9)]-bradykinin as the model compounds. It also allows the analyses of complex biological samples such as a tryptic digest of bovine serum albumin and a carnitine standard mixture. Nanowell array surfaces were also used for direct quantification of the illicit drug fentanyl in red blood cell extracts. This method also allows full control of the surface features. MS results suggested that the pore depth has a significant effect on the ion signals. Significant improvement in the ionization was observed by increasing the pore depth from 10 to 50 nm. These substrates are useful for laser desorption ionization in both the atmospheric pressure and vacuum regimes.