Mass spectrometry

MASS SPECTROMETRY QUIZ

Quiz focused on mass spectrometry and its history

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  • 1.
    What ionization technique was used for the first sequencing of peptides by mass spectrometry?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    Mass spectrometry was used to sequence peptides for the first time in 1959 when K. Biemann described an innovative method based on the reduction of small peptides to polyamino alcohols with characteristic EI spectra. [https://doi.org/10.1021/ja01518a069]

  • 2.
    Who built the first mass spectrometer in Czechia?

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    Correct answer:

    The first mass spectrometer in the country was built in the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Four young scientists, Vladimír Čermák, Vladimír Hanuš, Čestmír Jech and Josef Cabicar, took part in its construction. At the time of the post-war shortage, it was very difficult to find the necessary components; some parts originated from captured German military equipment. The mass spectrometer was of the Nier type with simple focusing and 60° magnetic field, pumped by a mercury diffusion pump. The device was completed after two years, in 1953. The construction of this instrument was an extraordinary achievement awarded a year later by the State Prize. [Z. Herman, Chem. Listy 104, 955, 2010]

  • 3.
    How long would be a paper needed for printing a profile mass spectrum in the m/z 0 1000 range at a resolution of 50,000 at m/z 500 if the peaks were to be 1 mm wide at their half maximum? Let us consider constant peak widths throughout the spectrum.

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    The resolution can be expressed as (m/z)/Δ(m/z), where Δ(m/z) is the peak width at 50 % of its maximum. For a resolution of 50,000 at m/z 500, the value of Δ(m/z) is 0.01. If the Δ(m/z) is to correspond to 1 mm, then the total width of the spectral record equals 1000/0.01 mm, which is 100,000 mm, which is 100 m.

  • 4.
    Which element has the largest number of stable isotopes?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:
    Naturally occurring tin is a mixture of its ten stable isotopes and they are found in the percentages as follows: 112Sn (1.0 %), 114Sn (0.7 %), 115Sn (0.3 %), 116Sn (14.5 %), 117Sn (7.7 %), 118Sn (24.2 %), 119Sn (8.6 %), 120Sn (32.6 %), 122Sn (4.6 %), and 124Sn (5.8 %).
  • 5.
    Mass spectrometers known as calutrons were used for the industrial separation of uranium isotopes during the Manhattan Project. A large amount of copper was needed to make their magnetic coils. How was the highly-valued metal obtained during the war?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    During the war, copper was preferably used for the production of brass shell casings and it was not available for the construction of calutrons. The designers came up with the idea of replacing copper with silver. They borrowed about 13,300 tons of silver from the West Point Bullion Depository in West Point, NY. After the war, the silver was returned to the Treasury with virtually no loss.

  • 6.
    Which mass spectrometer was carried by the American spacecraft Viking 1 sent to the planet Mars in 1975?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:
    Viking 1 carried two mass spectrometers, both equipped with double-focusing analyzers and electron ionization sources. The first spectrometer with a Mattauch-Herzog geometry was designed by Alfred Nier; it was intended to analyze the upper atmosphere of Mars. The second one with a Nier-Johnson geometry was part of the GC/MS apparatus designed by Klaus Biemann. It was used to analyze the regolith and the atmosphere at the landing site.
  • 7.
    Joseph John Thomson (1856 - 1940), Nobel laureate in physics, is credited with the invention of the mass spectrometer, the discovery of the electron and isotopes of stable elements. A lesser-known fact is his father's profession. What was it?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    His father, Joseph James Thomson, ran an antiquarian bookshop founded by a great-grandfather. [Wikipedia]

  • 8.
    Josef Mattauch was a scientist known for the development of the Mattauch-Herzog double-focusing mass spectrometer. His career is connected with the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin. Do you know where Josef Mattauch was born?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    Josef Mattauch was born in 1895 in the city of Mährisch Ostrau, in what is now the Czech Republic, then part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.

  • 9.
    The first on-line coupling of gas chromatography to a mass spectrometer was reported in 1959. What type of spectrometer was used for this purpose?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:
    The first GC/MS experiments were carried out by Fred McLafferty and Roland Gohlke at Dow
    Chemical with Bill Wiley and Ian McLaren at Bendix Research Laboratories. They used a Bendix time-
    of-flight mass spectrometer, which had been commercially introduced in 1956. The instrument was
    fast enough to keep up with the changing output of the GC column.
  • 10.
    The quadrupole mass filter has been known since the mid-1950s thanks to the work of Wolfgang Paul. The motion of ions in a quadrupole field can be described by solving second-order differential equations. When were these equations solved mathematically?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    The solution of differential equations of this type came from the French mathematician Émile Léonard Mathieu (1835-1890), who studied the mechanical vibrations of the elliptical drumheads.

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