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|Home Chemistry Mass Spectrometer Screen|
|See also: Electron Multiplier, Molecular Formula, Sector Field Mass Spectrometer|
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A mass spectrometer is a device which can perform accurate chemical analysis (both quantitative and qualitative). Although there are several different technical implementations (sector field, quadrupole, time of flight) all of these devices are based on the same idea: the molecules under investigation are first broken up and then the type and the amount of fragments are investigated. The kind of fragments provides information on the chemical structure of the original molecule, the amount of fragmented ions allows to determine the quantities. Regardless of the actual ionization and separation technique all kinds of mass spectrometers eventually yield a mass spectrum, which is a line spectrum showing the fragment mass on the x-axis and the number of generated ions on the y-axis.