next up previous
Next: 3 Physical Plant Requirements Up: 2 Instrument Parameters Previous: 2.3 The Mass Spectrometer

2.4 Data Systems

Most modern mass spectrometers utilize computerized data systems for the acquisition and processing of data. These data systems are also used to set instrument parameters (such as ion source voltages). The software to interface with various instruments is generally specific (ie, there are no current open standards for communications between instruments and data systems), but third party products are available for instrument from most popular manufacturers.

Data systems generally run on ordinary computer equipment, provided appropriate communications cards are present. Again, these hardware cards are not general to instruments by various manufacturers, or even standard for all instruments made by one manufacturer. It is reasonable for a buyer to supply their own computer (perhaps one already existing the laboratory), but the communication card will have to be purchased. Instrument sellers will often sell computers with the hardware and software pre-configured, which may be a net time-saver compared to buying communication cards and software and installing on-site.

John S. Riley, DSB Scientific Consulting