Mass Spec: The Biography of a Scientific Instrument

Jordan Calmes

Over the past century, the mass spectrometer has become commonplace in scientific fields ranging from chemistry to geology to environmental science. Its ability to identify compounds and determine concentrations of those compounds leads to a wide variety of applications, from environmental monitoring to disease diagnosis. This thesis is meant to familiarize the non-scientist with the mass spectrometer. It illustrates the instrument’s basic physical principles and the wide range of research that utilize mass spectrometry. The story discusses the development of the mass spectrometer from the early experiments of JJ Thomson to modern uses in proteomics and attempts to miniaturize the instrument.



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