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Analytical technique: Mass spectrometry - Essay Example

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Mass spectrometry is a technique used to determine the characteristics of an unknown compound, most notably its mass. Different compounds, no matter how similar in size and chemical formula, have different spectra. In fact, it can be used to differentiate the same compounds made of different isotopes…
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Analytical technique: Mass spectrometry
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Download file to see previous pages The cation resulting from electron bombardment is a radical cation, while the smaller cations can be radical cations or carbocations depending on the nature of the neutral fragment. Because the resulting ions are intermediate, the process should be kept in a vacuum, 10-5 to 10-6 torr (http://v.cem.msu.edu/-reusch/VirtualText/Spectrpy/MassS). These ions are then sorted out and separated according to their mass and charge. These ions are then formed into a beam, and application of magnetic field deflects it in an arc whose radius is inversely proportional to mass of the ions. Thus, heavier cations are deflected nearer than lighter ones. Lastly, the number of ions for each group is recorded into a graph known as mass spectrum (http://v.cem.msu.edu/-reusch/VirtualText/Spectrpy/MassS). After mass spectrometry, a vertical bar graph is produced, showing the concentrations of ions with specific mass-to-charge ratios (m/z). The most abundant ion is referred to as the base peak, and is given the abundance of 100. By convention, the highest-mass ion is considered the molecular ion, and lower mass ions are its fragments. Their presence in the spectrum is important in predicting the molecular structure (http://v.cem.msu.edu/-reusch/VirtualText/Spectrpy/MassS). ...
It is then deflected by a magnetic field (mass analyzer). The resulting beams are then recorded using a detector (http://v.cem.msu.edu/-reusch/VirtualText/Spectrpy/MassS). Sample Preparation Requirements The samples analyzed using a mass spectrometer is under the premise of 100% purity. The sample can be purified by passing it into chromatography columns. If the sample is a protein, then this can be easily checked using electrophoresis. As well, as mentioned above, the compound should produce molecular ions, along with its smaller cations and neutral fragments, upon analysis using mass spectrometer. Most organic compounds can be split in these elements, although there are compounds that give off molecular ions that do not last long enough to be detected. In such cases, milder ionization conditions are used (http://v.cem.msu.edu/-reusch/VirtualText/Spectrpy/MassS). Types of Detectors There are many types of detectors, each with their own specific uses as discussed by Scripps Center for Metabolomics and Mass Spectrometry. Each is mentioned below. Electron multiplier The most commonly used detector, the electron multiplier is made up of 12 to 24 aluminum dynodes of increasing potentials. Each dynode causes release of electrons from the ions coming from the dynodes before it. The strength of signals depends on the velocity by which the ions are applied on the detector. Sometimes, an accelerating electrostatic field is used to increase signal intensity and sensitivity. Faraday cup On the other hand, the Faraday cup uses a concave dynode on which the ions strike, causing the release of ions much like what happens in the previous detector. The cup then gains a positive charge, thus attracting an electron current toward the detector. Photomultiplier conversion dynode When ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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