Talk:Mass spectrometry

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Discussion archived[edit]

I archived 66 kb discussion from July 2004 to September 2007 using the 'move' method of WP:ARCHIVE. --Kkmurray 16:31, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


The introduction is still too narrow, as it assumes a gas source. I'll have a crack at broadening it.Cwmagee (talk) 10:21, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

The introduction is now too narrow; it only covers electron ionization with a sector instrument. --Kkmurray 16:34, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

If you are addressing the new material. I agree and have reverted it.--Nick Y. 17:27, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

MS abbreviation[edit]

I have removed CyclePat's unfounded (and undiscussed) warning that the use of the abbreviation "MS" is original research. It isn't, and the abbreviation is more than adequately sourced, by CyclePat himself (????). Good reference, Pat, no need to bite yourself. Dethme0w 19:20, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

With minor changes from the original post on user talk:Dethme0w

Hello user user:Dethme0w. Ever since your statement which shows you do not agree with the policies elaborate within WP:OR, It appears as though you are still reverting my edit. Again I think there appears to be a miss-understanding regarding WP:OR and, if I may point out, hopefully in a polite manner, this is on your behalf. Nevertheless maybe I'm missing something and you can help me out? You have stated something along the lines, as I reword this in a more polite way, "we don't need to have sources for everything." This disagrees with WP:OR, Wikipedia's fundamental policy which says :

  • "Our verifiability policy (V) demands that information and notable views presented in articles be drawn from appropriate, reliable sources."
  • "Any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged must be supported by a reliable source."
  • "In general, the most reliable sources are books, journals and other periodicals published by university presses or reputable publishing houses."

I further would like to point out to you that my actions, should in no way be considered disruptive, per WP:OR, "As a rule of thumb, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication." (Which is good! And makes me happy to know we are working on finding a concensus)

This edit has removed a warning which claims there may be a violation of WP:OR within the article of Mass spectrometry. Prior to reverting your changes, because you removed a reliable source, could you please explain your changes in better details? You stated in you edit summary "rm completely unfounded OR warning. The abbreviation "MS" is sourced a hell of a lot better than it has to be already." This does not provide sufficient evidence as to what the sources are. I'm afraid I do not see any reliable source that says MS means Mass Spectrometry unless there is some sort of inference, or Synth of the material within that reference. I have read through the :

"Dissertation INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PURE AND APPLIED CHEMISTRY ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY DIVISION", 2006. 10 Nov. 2007. And could not find any reference that states MS is the abreviation of Mass Spectrometry.

The original reference, which I put with note/warning, gave p.24, Line 35 as reference. This line says:

"173 mass spectrometry".

Currently, the reference, we have still uses p.23, Line 35. And I believe does not supplie sufficient verifiable information. Essential, if I may ask the rhetorical question, "How does this relate to the symbol or term MS?"

By removing this statement:

"Note/Warning: As is, this reference may be considered primary information and original research. This is because throughout this dissertation by Murray, et all, the term MS is used to signify Mass Spectrometry. However the diss. does not specifically state the relevance, the origins or the use of MS as an abbreviation." (typographical corrections made to this quote)

You have essentially destroyed this reference. I can no longer see how it applies. Would you be so kind as to enlighten me on your perspective and how MS is referenced within this document? Thank you. I will wait for your response before removing the term MS. Furthermore, I have pasted a copy of this message to the article talk page so we can get further feedback. --CyclePat 04:02, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I have done nothing of the sort (destroyed the ref). You have been inexplicably demanding a level of rigour in sourcing for all instances on Wikipedia of the abbreviation "ms" that is normally reserved for the most controversial and inflammatory of statements. This is disruptive behaviour. Please stop now. DO NOT remove the abbreviation from this article. There is no consensus that this needs to be done, and strong objection to doing it. Dethme0w 04:46, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I changed the MS references to Sparkman's book (Sparkman, O. David (2000). Mass spectrometry desk reference. Pittsburgh: Global View Pub. ISBN 0-9660813-2-3. ). It's a better ref since he covers the etymology at length. --Kkmurray 05:24, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

closing remarks: Thank you user:Kkmurray, I will take a look at the source. It appears you may have solved the issue of sourcing. Nevertheless, there appears to be a fundemental difference of opinion, (A big problem), with user:Dethme0w's interpretation of WP:V and WP:OR. This goes against all general concensus and policy. Nvertheless, I'll be moving on to the next items on my list. (this may be may final remarks if the sourcing is all proper. Thank you again Kkmurray. --CyclePat 13:34, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
As a chemist, I find that "MS" is quite a common abbreviation. Since the common form of MS we use is ESI, "MS" in my neck of the woods usually refers to ESI MS in particular. In many papers, you will find analytical data labelled "MS (EI)"; "MS (ESI)"; "MS (FAB)" or variants. If you look as "MS" as an acronym, it should seem obvious. Is there a need to cite the etymology of acronyms such as "NASA" or "NATO"? --Rifleman 82 13:38, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Here is a simple web reference for the term. It is a very common usage. Tim Vickers 05:04, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh! Thank you lord! Thank you! :) I'm happy you found this! Here I though I was going to have to get that book, from the previous reference, at my University Library or worse have to buy it to verify the content. --CyclePat 05:39, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Acronyms in Mass Spectrometry is open, also Little Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry, ASMS - What is Mass Spectrometry?, and the Shimadzu MS Glossary. Here's an apt quote from John Beynon (from Organic Mass Spectrometry in 1981):

"The situation is somewhat confused because the term ‘mass spectrometer’ (MS) is used to describe magnetic sector (ms) instruments which should, properly, be described as ‘momentum spectrometers’ (m.s.). Further, when mass spectroscopists (ms) use ms m.s. to study metastable (ms) ions, they often use multiple scans (MS) to obtain adequate signal-to-noise ratio... Editors of Journals, such as Organic MS do not insist that individual ms avoid the use of initials whenever possible ... After all, it does not take long, only a few thousand ms to replace a sentence littered with initials by one written in simple English.

--Kkmurray 16:05, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
There is no question about this acronym. It is widely used and the general references in this article use it many times over and now it is directly sourced. Cyclepat - I know you are trying to do a good job of improving wikipedia but I think you need to reconsider the meaning of the policies you cite. "any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation." is specifically intended to mean almost the opposite of how you take it. It does not mean that challenging facts for the sake of challenging facts is beneficial. It does not mean that every citation must concisely state what is being said for the convenience of fact checking and it specifically means that not every statement needs a citation (i.e. those not likely to be challenged). This statement had a perfectly good citation despite not really needing one. The citation you objected to demonstrated use of an acronym derived directly from the first letters of the phrase. Anyone can see that 'MS' is being used as an acronym in a peer reviewed format in a paper that is filled with definitions and is in fact quite authoritative in defining such definitions but is so commonly used such that it does not need a definition. It doesn't take much to understand what is meant in context. This issue is a non-controversial issue which does not need a specific concise definition. The claim that 'MS' is sometimes used as an acronym for mass spectrometry is not an exceptional claim and does not require exceptional sources; however, by natural diffusion this fact is actually demonstrated multiple times in most of the references used in this article precisely because it is in common use. Yes you have chosen to challenge this very non-contraversial issue and demanded the claim be backed up concisely. Great now we have such a concise and specific citation. Have we really improved wikipedia? Would your time (and ours) been better used if you had simply done a google search or scirus search and added a better citation on you own? I find your actions to be not very productive and bordering on disruption. I would suggest that you stick to challenging editors on claims that seem questionable and/or important and are therefore likely to be challenged by other reasonable people.--Nick Y. (talk) 20:52, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

For a second there you had me believing everything you're saying, until I looked back at what I've actually added to the article. That was on November 10th (See first edit). And consisted of 5 edits until November 12th. (See difference here). These examples demonstrate my Good Faith attempt to add a source and may answer your question. Did I simply do a google search? Yes! Did I add a better citation on my own? Given the fact that there was no citation there in the first place, Yes! Let me refresh your memory on the order of events. Dethme0w states (see the top of this discussion section) that he has “... removed CyclePat's unfounded (and undiscussed) warning that the use of the abbreviation "MS" is original research.” The annotation or “note” section in the footnote was very important. It actually explained, but in much briefer words, as you stated, “that 'MS' is being used as an acronym in a peer reviewed format in a paper that is filled with definitions and is in fact quite authoritative in defining such definitions but is so commonly used such that it does not need a definition.” For the sake of the disambiguation page MS, it is important to make this fact easily verifiable. --CyclePat (talk) 05:36, 30 November 2007 (UTC)


I added a big chunk to the Etymology section. It may go better as a subsection of History at this point. --Kkmurray (talk) 22:05, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Nicely done. I tweaked it. --CyclePat (talk) 05:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you sure about the following? "The linguistic roots are a combination and removal of bound morphemes and free morphemes which relate to the terms spectr-um and phot-ograph-ic plate" - This sounds very far-fetched to me. Isn't the word simply derived from 'spectrum' and the greek verb γραφειν (grafein, to write) directly? Apparently, according to the article, early mass spectrometers did indeed use photographic plates, but I think it has to be double-checked that the word 'spectrograph' was not already in use, with an etymology that does not involve photographic plates. Beryllium-9 (talk) 19:08, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Photographic plates were definitely the primary means of detection early on. There were no chart recorders involved. The early spectrographs did not deliver what we would consider a spectrum (a line drawing of intensity vs. m/z or a series of vertical lines) They were more of a rorschach test looking picture with a somewhat circular appearance, very much a picture/image. Not something that looks like drawing but more like a blurry photo.--Nick Y. (talk) 21:26, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Here's an example as to why it may have derived more from Photograph that -graph:--Nick Y. (talk) 19:42, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Discovery of neon isotopes.JPG
Aston says "Since it is a close analogue of the ordinary spectrograph and gives a spectrum depending upon mass alone, the instrument is called a mass spectrograph and the spectrum it produces a mass spectrum."[1] The term was taken from the spectroscopy/astronomy community and was around in the 1890s. Current use implies image recording.[2] The key is how the suffix "graph" was used in the early days of photography. --Kkmurray (talk) 22:10, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Peer Review[edit]

I wish I had more time. Perhaps this article could use a peer review "{{peerreview}} ". --CyclePat (talk) 05:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and might not be applicable for the article in question.

All dates appear to be year and are relevant.--CyclePat (talk) 19:13, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I've fix the heading that repeated Mass spectrometry, I wonder about the capitalization of Gas Monitor in the next title. --CyclePat (talk) 18:26, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I have seemingly removed most of the special character. We may have to put back some of the accronyms to help clarify the terms? (ie.: "Tandem MS (MS/MS)" was changed to "Tandem"... perhaps "Tandem MS" would still be good?) --CyclePat (talk) 18:52, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I have changed it to Tandem mass spectrometry. We should note the abbreviation in the text.--Nick Y. (talk) 19:56, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Per WP:WIAFA, this article's table of contents (ToC) may be too long – consider shrinking it down by merging short sections or using a proper system of daughter pages as per Wikipedia:Summary style.[?]
Last I checked, I believe the table of contents is good! Any comments?
  • Please make the spelling of English words consistent with either American or British spelling, depending upon the subject of the article. Examples include: meter (A) (British: metre), recognize (A) (British: recognise), ization (A) (British: isation), isation (B) (American: ization), analyze (A) (British: analyse), analyse (B) (American: analyze), anesthesia (A) (British: anaesthesia), travelled (B) (American: traveled).
  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”
  • As done in WP:FOOTNOTE, footnotes usually are located right after a punctuation mark (as recommended by the CMS, but not mandatory), such that there is no space in between. For example, the sun is larger than the moon [2]. is usually written as the sun is larger than the moon.[2][?]
I've fix the footnotes that where not properly placed. --CyclePat (talk) 19:03, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, CyclePat (talk) 18:20, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I put ref #29 ( in a template to clean it up. --Kkmurray (talk) 15:01, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I added some images per the review. Feel free to tweak as necessary. --Kkmurray (talk) 19:18, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Definition is too restrictive[edit]

The definition of mass spectrometry is too restrictive. Mass spectrometers are used for measuring the mass-to-charge ratio not only of ions, but also of elementary particles [3].

Therefore: "Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of ions." should be changed to "Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles."

Cernms (talk) 10:46, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

plz you written seperate defination each artical in chemistry —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:14, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Editing for style[edit]

In "A simplified example," I found having the reference to Newton's Second Law at the beginning of the sentence interrupted the description of what was happening to movement of the charged particles, so I moved it to the end of the sentence and added the equation, F = ma. Siegele (talk) 18:39, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Instrumentation sections[edit]

I reorganized the instrumentation section hierarchy and moved a few stub sections into the analyzer introduction. --Kkmurray (talk) 14:53, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

The transmission quadrupole section ended with a statement that allowing the third quad of a triple quad to transmit all ions (rather than to act as mass filter) would result in a spectrum, which of course is not correct. I corrected this, and also linked the triple quad description to tandem mass spectrometry. John Thaden 12:29, 7 November 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by John Thaden, PhD (talkcontribs)

Merge SRM and MRM[edit]

The Tandem Mass Spectrometry section compares SRM and MRM. However, the MRM page redirects to the SRM page which states that these two techniques are the same thing. I propose merging the two concepts in this page as well. Gon-no-suke (talk) 05:35, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. –CWenger (^@) 05:39, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

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Analytical and preparative?[edit]

"Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique..."

I believe mass spectrometry is also a preparative technique - the Calutron for example. Also, searching "preparative mass spectrometer" on the Internet yields some scholarly articles confirming my suspicion. Duga3 (talk) 05:47, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

  • The current statement is accurate. The article does not say MS is used exclusively as an analytical tool. Preparative MS can be added for example in the applications section V8rik (talk) 20:36, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Histogram vs profile data[edit]

One should mention the difference regarding the representation: see here Google Books --Biggerj1 (talk) 09:01, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Comment on new section called 'steps'[edit]

This new section is a major step backwards because it duplicates the sections lower down on parts of a mass spectrometer and hence just causes confusion. Also it erroneously implies that particles in a source are always atomic, and that they are always ionized using an electron gun. This is just as bad as an earlier introduction that implied particles are always molecular. This section should be deleted! Radiogenic (talk) 04:46, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Radiogenic.Neuloja (talk) 11:53, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Agree and have removed the section. Vsmith (talk) 14:48, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Comment on new (intro) photo of mass spectrometer[edit]

This photo is not helpful in explaining mass spectrometry because it emphasizes a non-relevant aspect, ie the user/computer/lab, at the expense of the actual instrument. It should be replaced with a photo that shows the core aspect of a mass spectrometer, which is the part that creates a spectrum of masses. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Radiogenic (talkcontribs) 05:20, 11 May 2014 (UTC)