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Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of ions to identify and quantify molecules in a sample.

Description: Mass spectrometry is a powerful tool used in various fields, including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and forensic science. The technique involves ionizing chemical compounds, separating the resulting ions based on their mass-to-charge ratio (m/z), and detecting the relative abundance of each ion. The data obtained from mass spectrometry is used to determine the molecular weight, elemental composition, and structural information of the analyzed compounds.

The basic components of a mass spectrometer include:

  1. Ion source: Converts the sample molecules into ions
  2. Mass analyzer: Separates the ions based on their mass-to-charge ratio
  3. Detector: Records the relative abundance of each ion
  4. Data system: Processes and displays the data as a mass spectrum

Mass spectrometry is often coupled with other analytical techniques, such as gas chromatography (GC-MS) or liquid chromatography (LC-MS), to enhance compound separation and identification capabilities. In the context of drug testing, mass spectrometry is considered the “gold standard” for confirmatory testing, as it provides highly specific and accurate identification of substances in biological samples.

Examples of mass spectrometry applications: