MassSpecPhotoFor the past century, the process of mass spectrometry has been the best method for gathering and scrutinizing measurable data to identify a substance, calculate dilution ratios, or discern other information from sample specimens with a high degree of accuracy.

This process is preferred method of discerning chemical compounds present within a substance or molecular structure. Although the principles of the process have been widely recognized since the development of the cathode-ray tube in the 1880s, contemporary advances in technology and design have brought this method of atomic analysis to new heights.

Time-of-flight mass spectrometry is the latest evolution of the technology. Unlike traditional spectrometry utilizing electromagnetic energy to put velocity on and examine a spectrum of particles, time-of-flight mass spectrometry employs a different process.

What is conventional mass spectrometry?

In traditional mass spectrometry, a sample substance is super-heated inside a tube until it becomes a gas, and the gas produced is then ionized—meaning atoms either gain or lose electrons—using an electron beam. Through a series of strong electro-magnets, the ionized particles of the test material are sent careening around a bend in the tube where they are collected on a specialized screen called a detector depending upon their weight, or mass. As larger particles with greater mass travel at slower speeds than lighter particles with less mass, a spectrum is established. This pattern, or isotropic structure, is then analyzed in order to determine molecular composition and arrangement. Every substance generates a specific pattern unique to that substance.

How does time-of-flight mass spectrometry differ?

In time-of-flight mass spectrometry, a sample of material to be tested is ionized with a laser beam within the spectrometer. These high-velocity ions are accelerated through the cylinder with the use of a system of varying electrical charges as opposed to magnets.

As the particles move through the spectrometer at varying speeds depending on their mass—the mass/charge ratio is once again the dynamic at play—those particles/ ions with more mass will, again, move slower than those with a lower mass.

As the particles form a flow depending on their speed, they form an ion beam and produce a profile which is captured by a detector and analyzed for its elemental composition and structure. This chemical profile, based on the atomic data from the elements in the sample, is also unique to the substance being analyzed.

How does the Connectronics CSCB Coupler Series use time-of-flight mass spectrometry?

The Connectronics CSCB single conductor, high voltage, bayonet coupling connector series is a super-shielded precision connector. The CSCB provides maximum voltage operation, ranging from 20 kVDC or 6.6 kVRMS, and is capable of functioning in small-space and extreme environmental conditions (-55ºC to +125ºC, sea level to 70,000 ft.). The design features a tapered interface allowing corona-free operation. The “Positive Lock” mating retention system of the spring-loaded bayonet coupling nut gives a quick, reliable, quarter-turn lock. An additional benefit of the CSCB series is their reliable, consistent, durable design which is vibration and shock-resistant. CSCB receptacle connectors are hermetically sealed to maintain integrity and are conveniently panel-mounted.

CSCB connectors and interconnectors provide unparalleled reliability and performance in many applications and are at the cutting–edge of time-of-flight mass spectrometry. An application where utmost accuracy of time-of-flight information and measurements are imperative is in medical and pharmaceutical research and development. Having the ability to determine precisely the amounts of elements and compounds present in a substance could easily mean the difference between life and death—or liability. Connectronics CSCB connectors and interconnectors are the strongest link in this research process.

More specific information, technical data, and ordering procedures can be found here.

(Source: Davis, Frey, Sarquin & Sarquin. Modern Chemistry. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. (Austin, TX: 2006) Pp. 3-84.)