Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand. (May 2012)
|Analytes||atomic and polyatomic species in plasma, with exceptions; usually interpreted towards concentrations of chemical elements in sample|
|Manufacturers||Agilent, Bruker, Horiba, PerkinElmer, Shimadzu, Spectro, Thermo|
|Related||Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy|
|Hyphenated||Liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Gas chromatography-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry|
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry that is highly sensitive. It can see a range of metals and several non-metals at concentrations below one part in 1012 (part per trillion). It is based on hooking together an inductively coupled plasma as a method of producing ions (ionization) with a mass spectrometer as a method of separating and detecting the ions. Many chemists use Argon as a carrier gas to make the plasma. The machine sends the sample ions through a series of small cones. The cones let the plasma ions slowly enter the vacuum chamber of the mass spectrometer.
In trace elemental analysis, the method has advantages of high speed, precision and sensitivity compared to atomic absorption techniques. Analysis of lower concentrations at the same time is more prone to disruption by trace contaminants in labware and reagents used. Some analytes can not work with ICP-MS. Verification of analysis results requires additional work.