Mass Spectrometry

Overview

Description

Mass spectrometry is an analytical method that can detect fragmentation and mass of organic compounds. The ions are passed through a magnetic field that causes them to separate based on their size. The ions then pass through a slit and onto a detector, and a peak is generated on a graph, indicating the relative abundance and weight of the individual components in the sample. The largest peak is usually the M+{\rm{M}}^+ peak, which is equivalent to the mass of the molecule. The electron bombardment causes the molecules to undergo further fragmentation, which results in a series of smaller peaks.

High-resolution mass spectrometry measures molecular ion peaks to four decimal places to determine the exact molecular formula of a compound. GC-MS, LC-MS, ESI, and MALDI MS can involve high-resolution chromatography and combine an additional separation step before subjecting samples to mass spectrometry.

At A Glance

  • In mass spectrometry, a compound vaporizes and converts to ions, mostly by electron impact. The ions are separated by a quadrupole magnet and then found by a detector.
  • In mass spectrometry, parent peaks and fragmentation peaks are generated. Alkanes are fragmented in numerous ways based on their branching.
  • High-resolution mass spectrometry measures molecular ion peaks to four decimals to determine the exact molecular formula of a compound.