Automation and Database Implementation of a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
Andresen, Kevin W.
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In today's highly technological society, more and more industrial systems are being automated using computers. T.he extent of this automation varies a great deal. Some systems are simply "hard-wired", with mechanical switches setting microprocessors into action. These require an operator who makes changes according to his analysis of different process variables. At the other end of the spectrum are "turnkey" systems, which perform a complete operation without any need for operator intervention. An example of such a "turnkey" system is the automation of a Balzers QMG 511 quadrupole mass spectrometer as designed and implemented for the Optical Recording Project (ORP) of the 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. T.he mass spec is used for environmental analysis during an industrial process named "C2". I was employed as a Technical Aide at the Magneto-Optic Laboratory of ORP during the fall quarter of 1985 and given the following tasks: a) write procedures that would allow computer control of the mass spec and acquisition of its data, b) design a turnkey-type system using these routines which would run automatically, c) design a database for the mass spec data; and d) design and implement a storage-and-retrieval system for that database. During my twelve weeks at 3M, I was able to accomplish all of these tasks.