Nier, Alfred O. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Gove, Harry E. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
- Miscellaneous types
- Tandem accelerator mass spectrometers
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An instrument used for determining the masses of atoms or molecules found in a sample of gas, liquid, or solid. It is analogous to the optical spectroscope, in which a beam of light containing various colors (white light) is sent through a prism to separate it into the spectrum of colors present. In a mass spectroscope, a beam of ions (electrically charged atoms or molecules) is sent through a combination of electric and magnetic fields so arranged that a mass spectrum is produced. If the ions fall on a photographic plate which after development shows the mass spectrum, the instrument is called a mass spectrograph; if the spectrum is allowed to sweep across a slit in front of an electrical detector which records the current, it is called a mass spectrometer.
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