Mass Spectroscopy and Isotopes Tutorial
- Elements occur as a mixture of isotopes.
- Different isotopes of an element have:
(i) same number of protons
so the atoms of the different isotopes have the same charge on the nucleus
(ii) different number of neutrons
so the mass of the atoms of one isotope is different to the mass of the atoms of a different isotope
- Mass Spectrometers use this difference in mass to separate the isotopes of an element from each other.
- A mass spectrum is the record of the amount of each isotope detected.
- Peak heights on a mass spectrum are proportional to the amount of each isotope present.
- Mass Spectroscopy data can then be used to determine the relative atomic mass of an element1.