Fragmentation (chemistry)

Fragmentation (chemistry)

Fragmentation is a type of chemical dissociation. Fragmentation of a molecule can take place by a process of heterolysis or homolysis.

It is a phenomenon observed in mass spectrometry where it is used as a tool to find the structural formula of a molecule, process called structural elucidation.

It can occur in the ion source (in-source fragmentation) where it is generally not a desired effect. Ion source conformation is an important criterium in the level of fragmentation observed.

Desired fragmentation is made in the collision zone (post-source fragmentation) of a tandem mass spectrometer. It is a part of gas phase ion chemistry and there are different types of mass fragmentation:

The certain structures favour fragmentation the α-cleavage and the McLafferty rearrangement are two examples for the often observed fragmentations.

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