Mass Spec Paper

Submitted By Zumbo0124
Words: 594
Pages: 3

Mass Spectrometer A mass spectrometer is used to find out the average atomic mass of a given element with all of its naturally occurring isotopes. It sends atoms through a beam of electrons to make the atoms positively charged ions. Then the atoms are curved through the tube by an electromagnetic field. This deflection of the atoms separates the masses of the atoms causing them to be on separate places of the detector plate. All mass spectrometers work in this way to find out what that average atomic mass is.
Mass spectrometers can be used for anything dealing with finding out what is inside a certain unknown sample. Hospitals use these machines to find out what is inside samples of a patient’s fluids. They can use it for to find out what is inside a patient’s blood or urine. They can also be used for carbon dating and radioactive dating processes to find out how old something is by seeing how much carbon is left in a substance. It can also be used for determining the identity of small particles in space that satellites come in contact with like the solar wind.
• Ionization- The first step in finding out what an element’s average atomic mass is ionization. This is the part where the vaporized sample is inserted through the chamber where the atoms are bombarded with a stream of electrons. This stream of electrons knocks off the electrons of the atom to make it a positive ion. These ions will mostly have a charge of +1 because it is difficult to knock off more electrons. These ions are then pulled out into the rest of the machine by a slightly positively charged plate.
• Acceleration- Next, the ions are accelerated in the acceleration step in the mass spectrometer. This part focuses the ions into a very tight beam which are passed through charged plates. The ions are carried away from the ionization chamber and then passed through an intermediate plate with has an intermediate voltage and finally through the last plate with a charge of 0 volts.
• Deflection- The third step is the deflection of the ions to separate their masses. This is done