Mass spectrometers provide accurate mass measurements of a sample’s molecules—sample identification and quantitation, amino acid sequencing, and reaction monitoring are a few common uses. Mass spectrometry is often coupled with other separation techniques, such as GC-MS and LC-MS. Fields that use mass spectrometers include genomics and proteomics, drug discovery, environmental, and clinical testing.
How Does a Mass Spectrometer Work?
Samples are loaded onto the MS and ionized by the ion source (electron or chemical ionization, ESI, or MALDI, for example). A mass analyzer such as time of flight (TOF), ion trap, or quadrupole separates the ions based on their mass and charge. A detector such as a microchannel plate or electron multiplier then measures the separated ions.
What to Consider When Choosing a Mass Spectrometer
There is a huge range of mass spectrometers on the market, at a variety of price points. Pertinent features will depend on your sample type and the data quality necessary, so take note of an instrument’s sensitivity, dynamic range, and software control.
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