What Does Mass Spectrometry Mean?
Mass spectrometry is an analytic technique that involves ionization and the mass analysis of compounds so as to find out their mass, structure and formula of the compound that is being examined. A mass analyzer is the part of the mass spectrometer that takes the masses that have been ionized and separates them with respect to their charge to mass (m/z) ratios and sends them to a detector where they are detected and transformed into a legible digital output.
This technique is mostly used in laboratory analysis to screen for metabolites in biological systems and drug detection to determine the structures of metabolites and drugs. It is also used in clinical testing to detect biomarkers of some diseases (for instance when screening form metabolic diseases in newborns) and to carry out forensic analysis for example in the confirmation of abuse of drugs. In environmental science, it can be used for the detection of food contamination or the quality of water while in geology it can be used for carbon dating or measuring the composition of petroleum.