On This Day In Chemistry

August 15th

English chemist Francis William Aston finished building his first mass spectrometer on this day in 1919

The spectrometer used electromagnetic focusing to exploit very slight differences in the mass of isotopes, which affects the separation for the elements or compounds. Aston used this to discover the two isotopes of neon, 20Ne and 21Ne. He was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.
 

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