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Acquisition of fast transient signals in ICP-MS with enhanced time resolution

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-07-12, 10:12 authored by Amy ManaghAmy Managh, David N. Douglas, K. Makella Cowen, Helen Reid, Barry L. Sharp
In recent years, the field of ICP-MS has seen an increasing trend towards sampling systems and methods that produce short transient signals, rather than a continuous signal response. Fast data acquisition, readout and storage are crucial to take advantage of the wealth of information available from these approaches. However, many of the current generation mass spectrometers, in particular sector-field instruments, were not designed to cope with such short duration signals. This article reports the use of a commercially available multi-channel scaler board, which facilitates capture of TTL pulses from an ICP-MS detector at a user defined time resolution down to 100 ns. The board was used to profile 400–600 μs wide signals with 10 μs resolution, derived from the nebulisation of a 50 nm gold nanoparticle suspension. Furthermore, the benefit of a 100% duty cycle was demonstrated for ∼10 ms wide signals, following ablation of individual macrophage cells with a fast response LA-ICP-MS interface.


This work was supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (‘The ONE Study’, 260687) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Impact Acceleration Account).



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  • Chemistry

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Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry


MANAGH, A.J. ... et al, 2016. Acquisition of fast transient signals in ICP-MS with enhanced time resolution. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 31 (8), pp. 1688-1692.


© Royal Society of Chemistry


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6JA00140H




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