Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Other Spectroscopy

What is mass spectrometry?

Mass spectrometry is a method of chemical analysis that involves determining the molecular mass of charged particles by measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of an ionized molecule or molecular fragment. There are several ways of performing mass spectrometry, but the general procedure involves making the sample into a vapor, ionizing the sample, and then detecting the ions that form in a way that separates them according to their mass-to-charge ratio. After being ionized, the molecules in the sample will often fragment into smaller ions, and these too are detected according to their mass-to-charge ratio.

This technique can be useful for carrying out an accurate determination of the mass of a molecule as well as for obtaining structural information about molecules via their fragmentation patterns. It also allows the elemental composition of a sample to be determined.


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