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Mass spectroscopy and electromagnetic radiation

  1. Oct 17, 2013 #1


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    Staff: Mentor

    Bear with me, I am a chemist :shy:

    As far as I understand, every accelerating charge emits electromagnetic radiation.

    In mass spectroscopy charged molecules/parts of molecules move in the magnetic field which bends their trajectories using Lorentz force. That means they are accelerated, yet I have never heard about them emitting the EM radiation. That would be not much different from cyclotron radiation.

    Is it just a matter of the intensity and wavelength? Charged molecules in mass spectrometer are too slow and/or acceleration is to small for the radiation to be of any importance?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2013 #2


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    If you use the Larmor formula for emitted electromagnetic power from an accelerating charged particle, I expect it may be that the intensity of the light emitted is extremely small considering the velocities and magnetic fields used.
    Barring that, I would look at the frequency spectrum of the emitted radiation to see if it is detectible with whatever instruments are being used. If the braking radiation were outside the visible spectrum, you would at least not be able to see it with your own eyes.
    Unfortunately, my experience with mass spectrometers is nonexistent.
  4. Oct 17, 2013 #3


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