Saturday, June 29, 2019

Mass Spectrometer Heaters

Mass spectrometry (or mass spectroscopy) is a technique of analyzing and identifying chemical substances by arranging gaseous ions in electromagnetic fields based upon their mass-to-charge ratios. A mass spectrometer is the instrument used in this analysis. Mass spectrometers operate according to a principle first discovered in 1898 by Wilhelm Wien, a German physicist, who determined that moving ions can be deflected by electromagnetic fields.

The mass spectrometers can be broken down into (5) basic components:
  1. The high vacuum system.
  2. The sampling system - the area is where the sample is conditioned and introduced.
  3. The ion source - the area is where the charged particle ion beam is produced.
  4. The analyzer - where the ion beam is separated into its components.
  5. The detector - where the ion beam separation data is collected.
Mass spec heater
A variety of heater used in mass spec.
Mass spectrometry is used for the identification of chemical elements to quantify their precise mass and concentration; for  analyzing organic and inorganic chemicals to detect small amounts of impurities;  analyzing complex organic material structure; determining chemical bond strength; and determining an unknown materials chemical and isotopic makeup.

Mass spectrometer heating elements, referred to as source heaters or gas line heaters, are used in mass spectrometers are used to turn the sample (typically in an aqueous or organic solution) into a vapor for analysis. The heaters are part of the sample conditioning system, prior to the analyzer and detector areas, where the vaporized sample is then bombarded by ionized high-energy electrons and analyzed.

Mass spec heater
An alternative design heater.
Heaters used in mass spectrometers are compact in design and provide a fairly high power density. They are fast responding and operate at temperatures up to 400 deg. C. They include internal temperature sensors for accurate control and limiting. While mass spec vary in form and fit, they all provide the same basic function -  as the energy source for the vaporization of the sample containing the atoms or molecules of interest.

BCE (Belilove Company-Engineers) is a leading manufacturer of electric heating elements for mass spectrometers. With decades of experience in custom engineering and design of heating elements for analytical instrumentation, they are an excellent candidate to discuss the unique needs of your application.
Mass spec heater
Yet another style mass spec heater.