a device for identifying the kinds of particles present in a given substance: the particles are ionized and beamed through an electromagnetic field and the manner in which they are deflected is indicative of their mass and, thus, their identity.
Origin of mass spectrometer
First recorded in 1930–35
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British Dictionary definitions for mass spectrometer
an analytical instrument in which ions, produced from a sample, are separated by electric or magnetic fields according to their ratios of charge to mass. A record is produced (mass spectrum) of the types of ion present and their relative amounts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012