Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is used to analyse trace and ultra-trace levels of most metals and some non-metals in rocks, minerals, waters and organic and man-made materials.
How it works
- An inductively coupled plasma (ICP) is used to atomise and ionise the sample.
- A mass spectrometer is used to separate and detect ions by their mass-to-charge (M/Z) ratio.
The detector can achieve linear performance from parts per trillion or lower, up to hundreds of parts per million in solution. The excellent sensitivity of the instrument and the very efficient collision/reaction cell interface means that analysis of difficult elements such as V, Cr and As can be particularly good.
- analysis of rare earth element ores
- complete chemical characterisation of rocks for geological studies
- chemical analysis of meteorites
- determination of rare earth and other trace elements in peat samples as tracers of climate change, including method development
- chemical analysis of atmospheric aerosols
- bioaccumulation study after exposure to nanosized and dissolved silver
- trace metal analysis in medical biomarker studies and protein characterisation
- About chemical analysis at NHM
- Technique: inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)
- Elements routinely determined: Li, Be, Al, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Rb, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, platinum-group elements, Cd, Sn, Sb, Cs, Ba, rare earth elements, Hf, Ta, W, Re, Tl, Pb, Th, U