Mass Spectrometer

Mass Spectrometers for Determining Age: High-Powered Discoveries with “Ötzi”

Mass spectrometers can be used to determine the age of man-made objects or fossils, for example. The carbon content of a tiny piece of the object being investigated is determined using the C14 method, as it is known.

This method was introduced by Willard Frank Libby (Nobel Prizewinner for Chemistry).

The ETH in Zürich has recently carried out a spectacular age determination test. A team of researchers used the mass spectrometer developed there to determine the age of “Ötzi”, a discovery of tremendous scientific interest in the Alps.

High-Precision and Constancy Power for Magnets and Accelerators

Heinzinger power units are used in mass spectrometers to provide the beam-guiding magnets of a small accelerator (-> See also the section on “Beam Transport and Focusing”) with high-constancy power. The precision power units in the PCU series were developed for this type of magnet application. The superb stability and precision of the DC voltage supplied by the power units guarantees control of the beam and allows the beam to strike the test sample with complete accuracy. The sample is split into its components, allowing the carbon content to be determined.

This process is carried out inside a vacuum chamber in which an electrical field is generated with extremely high voltage. The voltage used for this is in the order of several hundreds of thousands of Volts. While the systems are being started up, the power units are also used to clean the vacuum chambers. With increased current, the voltage is slowly but constantly increased and a cleaning process is started that removes even the tiniest traces of contamination inside the chamber.


Innovative HV Setup: Compact, Safe and Service-friendly

For these applications, Heinzinger supplies precision high-voltage power units from the PNC series. The high-voltage component of these units is cast using a special process and is therefore unaffected by environmental conditions. Heinzinger HV power units are extremely compact and built with complete insulation. This construction ensures long-term stability and safe, long-term operation. The special technology behind Heinzinger’s high-voltage power units delivers the same service-friendliness found in air-insulated (open stack) units, for example, without their large footprint and without any additional precautions being required in terms of high voltage safety. This design, unlike oil-insulated units, also allows them to be used without any separate input for environmental protection regulations.

Heinzinger power units in the PCU and PNC series are renowned worldwide for their reliability in this scientific application.

We would be delighted to advise you on choosing the right power unit for your applications. Call us on +49 8031 2458 0 or send an e-mail to info(at)heinzinger(dot)de

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Would you like to know more about power supplies from Heinzinger?

The following products can be used for these applications


Universal high-voltage power supplies up to 300,000 Volt with superb precision


Magnet power supplies for particle accelerators and medical technology


Low-voltage power supplies with double-stabilization and linear-control