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Logic Puzzle #9: Does my Unknown contain Br, Cl, S and/or Si atoms? … Solution

November 17, 2010

There are two approaches to solving this problem set. The “quick” approach is to subtract the mass of 10 carbon atoms from the mass of the molecular mass and see if the difference can account for the atoms Br, Cl, S and/or Si. The “longer” approach is to examine the isotope patterns on the MS and the relative abundance of the respective isotopes.

According to the MS below, the molecular ion (M+.) most probably corresponds to be the most intense signal at m/z 154.0. Given 10 carbons atoms, the difference is 34 Da (154.0 – 120 Da). Therefore, isotopes 79Br and 35Cl can be ruled out leaving either one atom of 32S or 28Si for the unknown. The molecular formula for the unknown could be C10 S1 H2 or C10 Si1 H6.

The subsequent post will examine the isotope pattern and thus examine whether the proposed molecular formulae are consistent with the MS data.


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