Quantitative analyses of trace and ultra-trace elements are performed by using a mass spectrometer with inductively coupled plasma source (ICP-MS) and quadrupole analyzer. Typically the samples analyzed are liquid solutions injected into the system and then ionized by the plasma. However, the concentrations of elements can be analyzed directly from solid matrix by laser ablation.
The Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) allow the surface analysis of conductive and insulating materials, with the possibility of having the qualitative determination of almost all elements up to concentrations of ppm or, for some elements , ppb. The principle of operation is as follows: the sample to be analyzed is placed in a chamber at 10-9 mbar and is sputtered by a collimated beam of O2+ ions bombarding the surface and causing the emission of particles and their ionization. These particles are focused into the analyzer quadrupole and identified as mass/charge ratio. The potential of the sample surface (if insulator) is compensated with a low energy electrons beam. With this technique the elemental in-depth distribution up to few µm depth can also be analyzed.
- ICP-MS Thermo Elemental X7 Series
- Laser New Wave Nd:YAG 213 nm
- Ion gun VG Fisons DP50B
- Quadrupole analyzer Hiden EQS1000
- Electron Gun LEG31F VG Microtech
The laboratory is equipped with a Thermo-Fischer Scientific ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy) iCAP 6300 DUO . The instrument is suitable for simultaneous multi-element analysis over the spectral range from 166 to 847 nm. Radial or Axial view configuration of the instrument are available, depending on the sample and elements of interest.
The instrument provides the qualitative and/or quantitative determination of inorganic elements in the analysed sample, upon the necessary sample mineralization.
Detection Limits are in the ppb or sub-ppb range for most elements and concentration can be evaluated with high accuracy and precision.
The analysis is non-conservative, but only few milligrams of each sample are sufficient for the determination.
- Thermo Fischer Scientific iCAP 6300 DUO
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