Mass Spectrometry Quiz

Mass Spectrometry Quiz

Test your knowledge on mass spectrometry and its history

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  • 1.
    John Zeleny was an American physicist whose work laid the theoretical foundations of electrospray ionization. He was born in 1872 into a family of immigrants from Europe. Where did his family come from?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    The parents of John Zelený, Antonín Zelený and Josefa Pitková, came from Křídla, a small village near Žďár nad Sázavou in Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic).

  • 2.
    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.

  • 3.
    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.

  • 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.
    Chemical ionization (CI) is a soft ionization technique used in mass spectrometry. Who discovered it?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    Chemical ionization was discovered in the laboratories of the Humble Oil and Refining Company in Baytown, TX. Munson and Field’s seminal paper on chemical ionization was published in 1966. [https://doi.org/10.1021/ja00964a001]

  • 6.
    Who made molecular elephants fly?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:
    John Fenn was awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002 for his work related to electrospray ionization of biological macromolecules. His famous phrase, "we made elephants fly" refers to the ability of electrospray to generate gas-phase ions from big protein molecules.
  • 7.
    Until 2019, the kilogram unit was defined using an international prototype kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France. The International Prototype of the Kilogram was made of an alloy of platinum and one other metal. The metal was:

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    The International Prototype of the Kilogram was a cylinder with a height and diameter of 39 mm made of an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium.

  • 8.
    Who first described the fragmentation after the gamma hydrogen rearrangement to an unsaturated group via a six-membered intermediate?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:
    It was first described by Australian A. J. C. Nicholson in 1954 (Trans. Faraday Soc. 50: 1067-1073). The
    reaction description was published in 1959 by the American chemist Fred McLafferty (Anal. Chem.
    31: 82–87), by whose name we now refer to the rearrangement (McLafferty rearrangement).
  • 9.
    What is the trajectory of a charged particle moving perpendicularly to a uniform magnetic field in a vacuum?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:

    The magnetic force is perpendicular to the velocity so that it does no work on the charged particle. The particle’s kinetic energy and speed thus remain constant. The direction of motion is affected but not the speed.

  • 10.
    How many the most quadrupoles coupled in series were ever utilized for tandem mass spectrometry in a commercially available instrument?

    Your answer:
    Correct answer:
    A penta-quadrupole mass spectrometer is suited for the acquisition of MS3 data. It utilizes three quadrupole mass filters and two rf-only quadrupole collision cells. A commercial penta-quadrupole instrument has once been offered by Extrel.

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