Ions: Wet and Dry - CHEM 6222

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Instructor: Professor Akos Vertes
Office: Samson Hall 212
Telephone: (202) 994-2717
Objectives: An overview of the principles, instrumentation, methods, and applications of mass spectrometry and electrochemistry is provided. We work toward the in-depth understanding of state-of-the-art methods to explore their fundamentals and to appreciate how new methods are developed. Discussions on typical applications of these techniques highlight their role in solving biomedical, environmental, industrial, and forensic problems.


Mass Spectrometry
  • Charged particles in electromagnetic fields (vacuum)
  • Vacuum systems (mean free path, pumps, gauges)
  • Ion sources (electron impact, chemical ionization, field desorption, fast atom bombardment, plasma desorption, laser desorption, electrospray, spark source, glow discharge)
  • Analyzers (magnetic sector, quadrupole, time of flight, ion cyclotron resonance, ion trap)
  • Detectors (Faraday cup, electron multiplier, multichannel plate)
  • Data acquisition systems, computer aided data evaluation (A/D and D/A converters, transient recorders, digital oscilloscopes, spectrum manipulation, calibration, peak finding)
  • Design of ion optical elements (momentum and energy filtering, spatial, time, and energy focusing, constrains, SIMION)
  • Analysis of inorganic components in liquids and solids (sample introduction systems)
  • Analysis and structure determination of small organic components (fragmentation patterns, NIST/EPA/NIH MS Library, tandem MS/MS techniques)


  • Charged particles in electromagnetic fields (solutions)
  • Electrochemical cells (thermodynamic properties, electrode potentials, interfacial region)
  • Kinetics and mechanism of electrode reactions (electron transfer, mass transport, diffusion control, surface reactions, Tafel law)
  • Potentiometry (glass electrode, ion selective electrodes, ISFETs)
  • Hydrodynamic electrodes (dropping mercury, rotating disc, ring-disc, tube, and wall-jet electrodes)
  • Voltammetry I: linear sweep and cycling techniques
  • Voltammetry II: step and pulse techniques
  • Impedance methods
  • Electrochemistry in industry (electrolysis, electrodeposition, batteries, fuel cells, corrosion)
  • Bioelectrochemistry
Suggested readings: You are encouraged to read the following journals on a regular basis.
Analytical Chemistry
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Journal of the Electrochemical Society

Academic Integrity: This course is committed to upholding the standards described in the Code of Academic Integrity. A short introduction to the Code is enclosed.  The complete Code is available at the GWU Academic Integrity site

Prerequisites: A strong foundation in analytical chemistry and permission of the instructor.

Method of Evaluation: The following components determine your final grade: Science article 10%, SIMION assignment 10%, classroom contributions 10%, presentation of article 20% and final exam 50%.

Method of Instruction: This is a BlackBoard based course. Course outline, lecture notes and assignments are available at the Blackboard web-site.

For more information call me or the Department of Chemistry at (202) 994-6121. 

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