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Inorganic Substances, Mass Spectrometric in the Analysis of

Mass Spectrometry

  1. Howard E. Taylor

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a6010

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Taylor, H. E. 2006. Inorganic Substances, Mass Spectrometric in the Analysis of. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. US Geological Survey, Boulder, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique used to measure the composition of a substance by isolating specific analyte components according to their individual atomic or molecular mass-to-charge ratios. Inorganic mass spectrometry is specifically used to determine the elemental and isotopic composition of the material being analyzed. The techniques are capable of the measurement of a range of concentrations from major components to ultratrace constituents.

Several instrumental approaches are used to separate and measure the abundance of component ions formed from the sample. These techniques include electron ionization mass spectrometry (EIMS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS), thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and spark source mass spectrometry (SSMS). These techniques utilize a variety of mass spectrometers including ion trap, quadrupole, magnetic sector and time-of-flight mass analyzers, depending on the type of sample being analyzed and the desired quality of the results. Often sample introduction techniques can be utilized to enhance the capabilities for solving specific analytical chemistry problems.