Exposition

In-house spectral library

Exhibit no. 802

The identification of an unknown compound is a common task in mass spectrometry. This process is much easier and faster when using a reference library of spectra. At a time when large commercial databases were not yet available, laboratories were building their own libraries. An example is this exhibit, a library of about forty mass spectra of terpenes. Each spectrum was drawn in ink by hand on graph paper glued to an edge-punched card. One millimeter thus represented one mass on the x-axis and one percent of intensity on the y-axis. The mass spectral data were mostly taken from literature. The library was created in the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Czechoslovak Academy of Science, Prague, in the late 1960s or the 1970s.

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