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The mass spectrometer’s name sounds mystical and intense, but it’s far from it. Like all scientific instruments, it performs a technical function that provides crucial information about a material. You may be wondering, “What is a mass spectrometer and does my lab need one?”

What Are Mass Spectrometers?

Mass spectrometers are the go-to instrument for technicians who want to analyze molecules. Mass specs essentially measure the mass to charge ratio of sample molecules to determine their molecular weight, identity, structure, and quantity. These tools serve as the backbone of many investigative sciences, breaking samples down to their molecular foundations to assess their overall composition and identify their nature.

How Do You Use Them?

The mass spectrometer machine begins with molecular ionization that turns the sample into a vapor which is more malleable and useable in the calculation portion of the test. Once the molecules are in gaseous form, the molecules accelerate and deflect within a magnetized vacuum chamber. These particle movements change based on ion weight and reveal the various properties of the sample. The mass spectrometer detects this motion and produces readouts that enable technicians to draw accurate conclusions.

How Do You Choose the Right Equipment?

It’s great to understand the functionalities of various scientific tools, but how do you choose the right equipment for your laboratory? Mass spectrometers are highly specialized machines that perform particular tasks with incredible accuracy. The best way to determine your laboratory’s needs is to perform a process audit.

When you walk through your entire laboratory task by task from start to finish, you can grasp the scope of each project and how efficiency could improve. Whether you have gaps in your technical capacity or unnecessary downtime, you can manage these problems only when you know about them. If you or your technicians notice any problems with your procedures and abilities that a mass spectrometer could fix, then you likely need this tool at your disposal.

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is a mass spectrometer and does my lab need one?” you can begin making decisions for your business. If you have any questions about mass specs or want to add refurbished mass spectrometers to your laboratory setup, reach out to us at GenTech Scientific today.