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Mass Spectral Interpretation

August 26th and 27th, 2006

This is a general course on the interpretation of mass spectra of organic compounds with a molecular mass of < 1,000 Da. Strategies and techniques with step-by-step details will be provided for the interpretation of spectra obtained both by electron ionization (EI) and the soft ionizations techniques of electrospray (ES) and atmospheric pressure ionization (APCI).

A number of the topics will apply to all mass spectra regardless of how they are produced (EI or collisionally activated dissociation [CAD]). These will include elemental composition through isotope peak intensities and accurate mass measurements, fragmentations associated with rearrangements of even-electron ions, logical neutral loss (molecules and radicals), and the use of EI mass spectral databases in the identification of unknowns obtained by CAD as well as EI.

Specific topics that are more ionization technique dependent will also be covered such as the identification of a molecular ion peak and radical-site-driven fragmentation in spectra obtained using EI and determination of the molecular mass from the multitude of peaks that can appear in spectra produced by soft ionization techniques (the peaks in spectra obtained with ES and APCI). A differentiation between odd-electron and even-electron ion peaks and their importance in spectra obtained using EI will be discussed.

The course materials will include a detailed set of lecture notes and the Mass Spectral Interpretation Quick Reference Guide. The course is taught by Professor O. David Sparkman (University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA). Professor Sparkman has been teaching mass spectral interpretation for the American Chemical Society since 1978. His course is offered publicly 5 to 10 times per year with some sessions over the Internet to international audiences.

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