Mass spectrum

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K. K. Murray, R. K. Boyd, M. N. Eberlin, G. J. Langley, L. Li and Y. Naito, Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, 85, 1515-1609, 10.1351/PAC-REC-06-04-06.

Mass spectrum
Plot of the relative abundances of ions forming a beam or other collection as a function of their m/z values.
Note: The term is a misnomer because it is m/z rather than mass that is the independent variable in a mass spectrum.
Related Term(s):
Definitions of Terms Relating to Mass Spectrometry (IUPAC Recommendations 2013); DOI: 10.1351/PAC-REC-06-04-06 © IUPAC 2013.

Index of Terms


Gold Book


IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the “Gold Book”). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A.Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997).

Mass spectrum

A spectrum which is obtained when a beam of ions is separated according to the mass-to-charge (m/z) ratios of the ionic species contained within it.

Source: PAC, 1991, 63, 1541 (Recommendations for nomenclature and symbolism for mass spectroscopy (including an appendix of terms used in vacuum technology). (Recommendations 1991)) on page 1550

See also: Orange Book, p. 204 PAC, 1990, 62, 2167 (Glossary of atmospheric chemistry terms (Recommendations 1990)) on page 2200

IUPAC Gold Book
Index of Gold Book Terms

External links

This term has a corresponding Wikipedia article: Mass spectrum