Mass Spectrometry

  • Mary E. Malainey
Part of the Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique book series (MATT)


Mass spectrometry is a versatile analytical technique used to determine fundamental properties of both organic and inorganic materials. The technique can be used to establish elemental or molecular composition, the structure of molecules, and isotopic ratios of specific elements. The information desired determines sample preparation procedures prior to analysis, the method of sample introduction into the mass spectrometer, the manner in which it is converted into ions, and how ion masses are analyzed. Detailed descriptions of mass spectrometry can be found in Barker (1999), Becker (2007), Beynon (1960), Ebsworth et al. (1987), and Watson and Sparkman (2007). More general outlines are available in books on analytical techniques, such as Hammes (2005), Khandpur (2007), Patnaik (2004), Pasto and Johnson (1979), and Skoog et al. (1998). Basic theoretical principles of mass spectrometry are described in general chemistry and physics texts, such as Halliday et al. (2005) and Mortimer (1986). General descriptions and examples of archaeological applications of mass spectrometry combined with chromatographic (Evershed 1992a, 1993b, 1994, 2000; Hites 1997) and inductively coupled plasma (Young and Pollard 2000) techniques are also available.


Drift Tube Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry Electron Multiplier Electrostatic Analyzer Sample Molecule 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary E. Malainey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyBrandon UniversityBrandonCanada

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