Dr. Mary Satterfield, Director
National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8310
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Mass Spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique used to identify molecules and characterize them based on mass and how the molecules fragment into pieces. A mass spectrometer is often used in conjunction with chromatography which separates mixtures based on the philosophy of “like dissolves like” in which molecules move from the liquid, or mobile, phase into the solid constituents of the column and back out as the mobile phase is altered. A mass spectrometer ionizes the molecules and they move through an area at different speeds based on their mass/charge ratio.
Maria Lorna DeLeoz and Ben Place, both NIST chemists, presented ways to teach about how a mixture of materials can be separated by mass, similar to how a mass spectrometer works.