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Any of various devices that use magnetic fields, electric fields, or both to determine the masses of isotopes in a sample by producing a mass spectrum. Two types of mass spectroscopes are the mass spectrograph and the mass spectrometer.
mass spectroscopy n.
Any of various devices that use electric or magnetic fields to determine the masses of atoms or molecules in a sample. A beam of ions (electrically charged atoms or molecules) is passed through the electric or magnetic field. The field deflects the ions at different angles depending on their masses, thereby breaking the beam into separate bands. ♦ Each different element, isotope, or ion has a unique series of bands, called a mass spectrum, that can be used to identify it.