The application of ICP-MS to high matrix samples such as those found in the ceramics industry
thesisposted on 05.03.2014, 14:17 by Mark R. Landon
Although the benefits of ICP-MS are well documented, the determination of analytes at low levels in high concentrations of matrix elements has proved difficult. As ICP-MS is a 'flow into' instrument the deposition of salts throughout the system is a common cause of significant loss of signal. The application of desolvation of aluminosilicate samples, to aid in the production of more robust plasma conditions, was investigated to increase the efficiency of the ICP in processing the sample. The performance of the ICP-MS was monitored with different cone arrangements and by running the skimmer cones at elevated temperatures. An alternative to modification of the instrument is to employ chemical modification of the sample and hence the separation of Au and Pt from an aluminosilicate matrix via the use of solid phase extraction (SPE) columns were investigated as a means of dealing with high levels of dissolved solids. OVB based SPE columns were found to give high retentions of Au and Pt when chelated with ammonium pyrrolidinediethylcarbamate (APOC). A second alternative that avoided digestion of the aluminosilicate matrices, was to carry out the analysis using laser ablation (LA). LA-ICP-MS is becoming increasingly used for trace elemental analysis but as yet no universal calibration method is available. The general problems associated with matrix matched standards are inherent as the ablation mechanism and plasma conditions can differ dramatically with very small changes in matrix composition. Hence the addition of chromophores was employed to increase the absorption of the laser energy. The use of vanillic, nicotinic and pyrazinoic acid were used to improve the ablation of pressed powder discs at the laser wavelength of 213 nm. Synthetic aluminosilicate discs and standard additions were both employed for the calibration and determination of Ti.