The Mass Spectrometer

The mass spectrometer is a device used to study isotopes of ions produced in a cathode ray
tube. Isotopes of an element share the same chemical properties but have different masses and produce different values for their charge-to-mass ratio. An electron beam strikes vapor atoms that yield positive ions accelerated by a potential difference and deflected by a uniform magnetic field to hit a photographic plate. Mass spectrometry can also be used to identify molecules by analyzing the masses of its fragments.


  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]


The charge-to-mass ratio of an ion can be derived from Newton's second law and the Lorenz force, yielding
where is the charge, is the mass, is the potential difference, is the magnetic field intensity, and is the radius of gyration.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.

Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-Step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2018 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+