Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Mass Analysis

  • Neil J. OldhamEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_210-1



The analysis of ions by measurement of their mass-to-charge ratio (m/z).


Mass spectrometry is concerned with measurement of the mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of ions. In the case of biopolymers, ions are most frequently generated by electospray ionization (ESI) or matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). Measurement of m/z is conducted in a region of the mass spectrometer known as the mass analyzer. There are numerous designs of mass analyzer, but all rely on the use of electric or magnetic fields to manipulate ions in a manner that leads to determination of their m/z. A comprehensive treatment of the principles of mass analysis, in the various analyzers known, is beyond the scope of this entry. Instead, a brief description of the methods most commonly used for the analysis of biomolecules is provided. For a more detailed account, the reader is directed to de Hoffmann and Stroobant (2002) and Watson and Sparkman (2007).


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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ChemistryThe University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Neil J. Oldham
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ChemistryThe University of NottinghamNottinghamUK