Mass Spectrometer

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  • Mass Spectrometer
    • Ionisation
      • A sample is placed int eh spectrometer and if it is not already a gas it is vaporized
      • The atoms  diffuse into the path of electrons from the electron gun and are ionised.
      • The gun fires out high-energy electrons which knock out an electron from gaseous particles so that they form positive ions
    • Acceleration
      • the positive ions are accelerated by an electric field and focused into a beam by passing them through a series of slits.
    • Deflection
      • The beam of fast moving positive ions is then deflected by a strong magnetic field.
      • The magnitude of the deflection depends on the mass to charge ratio (m.z) of the ion. When small: m/z is the deflection is large.
    • Detection
      • When the ion hits the detector it accepts an electron, and this causes a small electrical current which is amplified and produces a signal on the computer
      • The magnitude of the amplified current i related to the number of ions that hit the detector and the relative intensity of the peak caused by an ion with a particular m/z value.
      • The magnetic field can be increased in order to deflect heavier ions into the detector one after another and thereby produce a 'spectrum'


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