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4.1.4.2 Data analysis systems

The electrical control units of Pfeiffer Vacuum mass spectrometers do not include any operating or display possibilities. Consequently, operation, data analysis, display and data storage are performed on a PC with the „Quadera” software.

Pfeiffer Vacuum's Quadera mass spectrometer software is a modular system. Quadera can be used with the PrismaPlus and HiQuad devices, which are equipped with newly developed electronics. The PC can be connected to the Prisma or HiQuad mass spectrometers via an Ethernet.

To perform certain measurement tasks, the PC transfers parameter records to the mass spectrometer in order to set the device. The data read out during or after the measurement is transferred back to the computer, where it can be analyzed, displayed or stored

The following data are typically displayed:

Typical measuring tasks, such as residual gas analysis or leak detection, are pre-programmed and can be launched with a mouse click.

If quantitative analysis is to be performed, the mass spectrometer must be calibrated beforehand. If this involves recurring processes, such as calibration with subsequent quantitative analysis, these processes can be programmed by means of „visual basic for applications”. Programming skills are not required, as pre-engineered modules are available for this purpose.

To solve complicated measurement tasks, a library containing fractal ion distributions for several frequently occurring gases and compounds is available in the Quadera software. However these and other distributions obtained from spectra libraries can only be viewed as guideline values, as they are influenced by various parameters, such as ionization energy, temperature or the transmission characteristics of the mass analyzer.

In analyzing mixtures containing multiple gas components, the problem of overlapping ion currents of differing origin on the same mass numbers is one that frequently occurs. There are mass numbers whose intensity is produced exclusively by a single gas component (e.g. argon on mass number 40, oxygen on mass number 32, carbon dioxide on mass number 44 and water on mass number 18).

In the case of other mass numbers, the overall intensity of the detected ion current is governed by the overlapping of different concentrations of fractal ions from diverse gas components. Depending upon the composition and concentration ratios in the gas mixture to be analyzed, suitable algorithms and calibration procedures must also be formulated for the measurement task in question.

Through the admission of suitable calibration mixtures having non-overlapping components, the respective calibration factors must be determined for each individual gas component on all overlapping mass numbers prior to performing quantitative gas analyses. The concentration or the partial pressure can then be determined for these gases within the framework of a matrix calculation. These kinds of matrix calculations and the required gas-specific calibration routines are supported by the Quadera mass spectrometer software.

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