Scientists in many different fields use mass spectrometers to determine what substances are made of. This can aid in finding treatments and cures for various ailments, solving crimes and improving products already on the market. Before you get started looking for this equipment for your lab, getting certified to maintain and repair these items or take courses to learn how to use them, it is a good idea to understand what they do and how they work.
What Do They Do?
Mass spectrometers ionize the atoms in a substance and then use magnets to separate them into a spectrum. Since these ions have different charges and mass, they will accelerate to the magnets at different speeds and can be tallied easier. The units are connected to a computer detection system which feeds results to the scientist monitoring them. Those who repair mass spectrometers Exton PA will need a working understanding of this equipment and the electromagnets, ionizing units and detectors used.
How Do They Work?
The first patents for mass spectrometers were filed in the 1940s and show a basic diagram of how the equipment works in reality instead of just in theory. A sample of a substance goes into the unit and is hit with electrons to ionize the atoms in the sample and change the charge of the atom. The resulting ions are accelerated towards a magnetic field created by an electromagnet. This causes them to spread out and be more easily detected and counted by a monitoring system. More modern units can adjust the magnetic field to attract different substances and use computerized counting systems for a more detailed result.
Since mass spectrometers are used in a variety of industries, they are becoming more ubiquitous for all types of labs. The food industry uses them to fine-tune artificial flavorings or develop new recipes, the medical industry uses them to determine which medicines a patient is on and to develop new ones, and the justice department uses them to examine substances to determine if they are evidence.