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Question
Dear Prof Steve

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodic_table
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotope
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_spectrometry
www.chemguide.co.uk/analysis/masspec/howitworks.html


1 Can we use the Mass spectrometer device for identifying isotopes of all elements in the periodic table including heavy elements viz Uranium, thorium and Plutonium ?.

2 Can the Mass spectrometer machine be enhanced further to have a portable version ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
This is borderline, but I'll answer it anyhow.  Firstly, that's part of the reason they were invented, so of course they can do that.  Especially accelerator-based mass spectrometers that can tell charge, mass, and specifically work on atoms and not on molecules.  Second, we have some "portable" mass spectrometers right downstairs from me, but currently most of them which are designed with this goal are limited in their capabilities.  http://908devices.com/news/introducing-m908-worlds-first-handheld-mass-spectrome

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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