mass spectrometer
  • noun a device used in chemical analysis which separates particles according to their masses
  • An instrument which identifies ions based on their charge-to-mass ratio. In it, the sample to be analyzed is vaporized, placed in a vacuum, ionized by an electron beam, accelerated by an electric field, then deflected into a curved path by a magnetic field. The amount of deflection of any given ion will depend on its charge-to-mass ratio, so each different species is separated according to its mass. A detector records the distribution of each of the masses, each producing its characteristic peaks. Widely utilized to analyze elements and compounds. Also called mass spectroscope (1). Its abbreviation is MS.
  • acronym MS
  • synonym mass spectroscope

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