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ERIC Number: EJ1012186
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Simulating a Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer: A LabView Exercise
Marty, Michael T.; Beussman, Douglas J.
Journal of Chemical Education, v90 n2 p239-243 Feb 2013
An in-depth understanding of all parameters that affect an instrumental analysis method, allowing students to explore how these instruments work so that they are not just a "black box," is key to being able to optimize the technique and obtain the best possible results. It is, however, impractical to provide such in depth coverage of every technique and instrument in the classroom, and even more so in the laboratory. Exploring various instrumental parameters can be time consuming in the lab assuming that hands-on access is even available. One alternative to exploring different instrumental situations in the lab is to use computer simulations to model instrument performance under different conditions. Here, we present a simulation of a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer using the LabVIEW software platform. LabVIEW is routinely used for instrument interfacing and control and can be used to create simulations of a wide variety of chemical instruments. Because of their relatively high cost, mass spectrometers may not be readily available at all institutions, which makes a computer simulation an attractive alternative. Because TOF mass spectrometers, at least basic instruments, are relatively easy to understand, we chose to simulate a TOF in this exercise. This approach could be used to simulate other types of chemical instrumentation. (Contains 4 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A