total-ion current trace

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total-ion current trace

The sum of the relative abundances of all the ions in each mass spectrum plotted against the time (or number of scans) in a data collection sequence. The total-ion current trace in a GC/MS run is analogous to the output of a single-channel gas chromatography detector.

The trace allows eluted peaks to be identified by an increase in the total-ion current against the background. The scans corresponding to the eluted peak are averaged together to create the mass spectrum of the sample corresponding to that peak.