Applied Interpretation of GC-MS Mass Spectra

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Course summary

Course approval

Royal Society of Chemistry approved training logo

This course has been approved by the Royal Society of Chemistry for purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

What will you learn on this course?

This course is an introduction to mass spectral interpretation, aimed at presenting the fundamental tools and rules when examining high quality full-scan GC-MS data. Every analyst using GC-MS should have a fundamental understanding of how a mass spectrum is generated and if a library match is correct or not.

This course takes this a step further to enhance mass spectral knowledge. From learning to quickly recognise from the spectrum if the analyte is aliphatic or aromatic in nature; to learning to interpret the number of carbon atoms, heteroatoms and degree of unsaturation; and understand isotopes, isomers, logical losses, cleavages and rearrangements to produce a mass spectral fingerprint of the compound. The course is classroom based and combines powerpoint presentations to introduce the theory with a high proportion of exercises on spectral data to reinforce the topics learned.

If you wish to learn the fundamentals of mass spectral interpretation for the identification of unknowns or to enhance your understanding of fragmentation patterns produced from GC-MS analysis to aid in accurate identification when using library search programs, then this course is for you.

Who is this course for?

This course is recommended for those who have a good background in chemistry and at least six months experience as a GC-MS operator. 

Learning outcomes

  • You will learn the fundamentals of EI mass spectral interpretation for GC-MS
  • You will learn how to obtain high quality mass spectra and its importance
  • You will learn how electron ionisation occurs and review isotopes and isomers
  • You will learn simple techniques to recognise and elucidate spectra
  • You will learn how to observe fragmentation patterns for hydrocarbons and heteroatoms
  • You will learn how to interpret the number of carbon atoms in molecules
  • You will learn how to use advanced tools to interpret spectra such as molecular ion, nitrogen rules, degree of unsaturation and losses
  • You will learn the importance of alpha and inductive cleavages and rearrangement

How to book this course

Feedback from previous attendees of Virtual Classroom course

"The number of worked examples, rather than just going over the principles of interpretation actually doing a large number of worked examples really helped myself remember how to apply the principles."  On-Demand Virtual Classroom, March 2022.

"The knowledge and expertise of Diane and her willingness to allow the course participants to digest the information."  Mark Dowling, Senior Analytical Scientist, Teva (July 2021).

Feedback from previous attendees of Face-to-Face course

"(I enjoyed) the slowly building up of knowledge and proper application exercises."  Thomas Barrett, Research Fellow, The Open University (September 2018).

"It's a lot of information about interpretation mass and good for me to change from ICP to GC-MS."  Hassan Saeed Almalki, First Specialist of Lab, SFDA, Saudia Arabia (September 2018).

"Well organised so easy to follow. Diane very engaging and knowledge wise perfect for the course."  Raquel Gonzàlez, Senior Analytical Chemist, Smithers Pira (March 2018).

"(I enjoyed the) explanation of the exercises which is very useful."  Scientist from the contact lens industry (March 2018).

"(I enjoyed the) practical examples."  Researcher from a university in Czech Republic (March 2018).

"(I enjoyed) a lot of practice, professional tutor."  Chemist from the biotechnology industry (March 2018).

"It is more practical and it is better to understand [than other courses]."  Ivan Chóez-Guaranda, Research Assistant, ESPOL (September 2017).

"Good. (I enjoyed) hands-on doing lots of exercises."  Graham Akinson, Analytical Manager, Croda Europe (September 2017).

"(I enjoyed the) challenging exercises."  delegate from the chemicals industry (September 2017).

"(I enjoyed) the practical exercises."  Artem Krasnobaev, Research Associate, Wageningen UR (September 2016).

"....concise slides, clear figures and schemes, alternating theory and exercise applications.....this was the best taught (course) of them all."  Simona Nicoara, Analytical Research Technician, The Open University (October 2015). 

"Very good. Really nice clear notes and answers. Thank you very much."  Debbie Salmon, Post Doc,  Exeter University (May 2015).

"(I enjoyed) how well explained chemistry was to non-chemists allowing me to keep up throughout the entire course." Research Fellow, UK University (May 2015).

"The comprehensible and easy way that the contents were presented."  Celia Lourenco, Research Assistant / PhD Student, The Open University (March 2014).

"It was well organised and informative. (I enjoyed) the practical element of actually doing the intrepretation."  Post Graduate Researcher (May 2013).

"Good and pedagogical lecturer. Find it easy to understand the material."  Analyst (May 2012).