Mass Spectrometers (by Ion Source)

Mass Spectrometers by Ion Source

A mass spectrometer uses an ion source to ionize the sample before it continues to the mass analyzer and ion detector. The ion source charges the ions so they can accelerate through the MS. Once the process is complete, a mass spectra based on the sample’s mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) is produced.

What Are Some Types of Ion Sources?

  • With electron ionization, often used with GC, high-energy electrons interact with the molecules.
  • Chemical ionization produces lower energy, and can be either positive (PCI MS) or negative (NCI MS). An atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) mass spectrometer is often used with HPLC, and makes use of a corona discharge technique.
  • Electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometers are suitable techniques for liquid and solid biological samples.

What Is Mass Spectrometry Used For?

MS applications range from proteomic and genomic research to identifying environmental toxins, testing athletes for steroid use, and analyzing compounds in drug discovery.

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