Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)

A mass spectrometer creates charged particles (ions) from molecules. It then analyzes those ions to provide information about the molecular weight of the compound and its chemical structure. There are many types of mass spectrometers and sample introduction techniques which allow a wide range of analysis. This discussion will focus on mass spectrometry as it's used in the powerful and widely used method of coupling Gas Chromatography (GC) with Mass Spectrometry (MS).

A mixture of compounds to be analysed is initially injected into the GC where the mixture is vaporized in a heated chamber. The gas mixture travels through a GC column, where the compounds become separated as they interact with the column. The chromatogram on the right shows peaks which result from this separation. Those separated compounds then immediately enter the mass spectrometer.

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