GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mass spectrometry. Scientist analyses the data received from a mass spectrometer on a computer screen. Mass spectrometers are used to help identify chemical compounds by exploiting the behaviour of their molecules in magnetic and electric fields. Samples in liquid are injected into the spectrometer (not seen here). Inside, the substance is ionised by bombardment from high energy electrons. Variable electric and magnetic fields are used to accelerate and deflect ions towards a detector. The results are displayed as peaks on the screen (lower right) and the monitor (centre left).
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