M is for Magnet

A common feature of mass spectrometers is a magnet. A strong magnetic field is necessary to separate the molecules of slightly different mass for measurement.

Not all mass spectrometers work in the exact same way, but all use powerful magnets to select atoms and molecules of specific masses so that it’s possible to measure the amount of the different isotopes of specific elements. The configuration of these magnets differs depending on the isotopes being measured.

Mass spectrometers such as the DeltaPlus XP here at SIREAL have a single magnet that splits a beam of ionized gas into two or three beams of different masses that are measured simultaneously. This makes it possible to calculate the ratios necessary for the delta values (see D is for delta).

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