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The mass spectrometer features a vacuum. It is important that the ionization takes place in a vacuum, as any actual air molecules would throw off the results substantially. While there are different levels of complexity in some of the mass spectrometers, all of them will have three basic features. They will have an ion source, a mass analyzer, and a detector. Many of the units available will also have a readout or display, and some will connect to a computer.
How mass spectrometers work
The user will load samples into the mass spectrometer. They will then ionize those samples. The method of ionization can differ, and could include chemical or electron ionization. The analyzer will then separate the ions based on their charge and their mass. They will then accelerate the ions so that they have the same kinetic energy. At that point, they will deflect the ions via a magnetic field. Lighter ions are more easily deflected. Using a micro channel plate will allow you to measure the separated ions.
About mass spectrometers
A mass spectrometer is capable of providing the users with very accurate measurements of the molecules in many different types of samples. The device is able to identify the sample, quantify it, and even find the amino acid sequencing for it. They also use these for reaction monitoring. The devices are common in a number of different fields today, including environmental testing, genomics, and clinical testing.