What is a Mass Spectrometer?

A mass spectrometer is an analytical tool that is used to identify one or more molecules or fragments of molecules in a sample by the sorting of gaseous ions according to their mass-to-charge ratio.

Usually, mass spectrometers are used for identifying known compounds whose molecular weights are known, however, they are also invaluable in identifying unknown compounds using molecular weight and cracking pattern determination.

Mass spectrometers can do this as they consist of three components; an ionization source, a mass analyzer, and an ion detection system.

The Basics of Thermal Analysis

The term thermal analysis is used for the study of materials employing specific temperature-controlled programming. This includes thermal ramping and isothermal measurements.

Thermal Science is known as mature science as it has continuous advancements in research and application over the last fifty years. Thermal analysis methods measure the changes of a specific material property as a function of the temperature. Despite the availability of a range of methods, the thermal analysis selected is largely dependent on the regarded material’s properties to be investigated.

There is a range of techniques that can be used for thermal analysis and it is widely used in a variety of scientific fields.

Using Mass Spectrometers and Thermal Analysis Together

Coupling mass spectrometer systems with thermal analysis allows for the acquisition of evolved gas species in real-time, offering essential information with regards to the decomposition and desorption processes during the thermal analysis process

There are many benefits to coupling mass spectrometers and thermal analysis, however, there are also challenges that must be considered. For example, it is critical for dead volumes and cold spots around the coupling interface to be minimized to ensure that there is seamless detection of desorbing species with no condensation of the evolved products before they reach the mass spectrometer.  

Hiden Analytical produces mass spectrometers that have been configured with system-specific sampling inlets to integrate with existing thermal analysis equipment, such as thermal gravimetric analyzers, and also include modular microreactors.

At Hiden Analytical, our mass spectrometers and integrated inlet probes offer superior levels of performance for fast, simple gas sampling from thermal analysis systems. Our mass spectrometer systems have outstanding sensitivity and a wide dynamic range, offering unmatched insights into evolved gas species. 

Quadrupole mass spectrometers are fast, sensitive, and selective meaning the system is well suited to evolved gas analysis combined with thermal analysis.

The optimum coupling with thermal analyzers is offered because of the flexible inlet system, the resolution in the detection of molecules, fragments, and atoms, and the efficient and reproducible ionization of gases in the electron impact source.


If you would like to find out more about how Hiden Analytical can help with coupling mass spectrometers with thermal analysis, please contact us today.

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