Trace Elemental Composition

ICP-MS

The state-of-the art technique for bulk elemental and/or isotopic analysis of liquids or soluble organic and inorganic materials. ICP-MS is a comprehensive technique able to analyze most elements from lithium through uranium. It is an extremely sensitive technique with detection limits in the parts per trillion (ppt) range for many elements in aqueous solutions. It's high level of relative accuracy (1 to 2%) coupled with its' sensitivity allows the analyst to cover more than nine orders of magnitude in concentration. The advantages of ICP-MS include elemental and isotopic analysis for majors, minors, trace and ultra-trace impurities. This has eliminated the need to use several techniques to obtain a complete analysis. Recent technological advances in Cool Plasma ICP-MS have helped eliminate or reduce interferences caused by the argon plasma thus allowing lower detection levels for Li, Na, K, Ca and Fe.

AAS - Atomic Absorption Spectophotometry

This is a technique for elemental analysis in liquids. Metallic species can be determined in both organic and inorganic samples. It is a sensitive technique that can determine the concentration of most elements at the part - per - million (ppm) level. If lower detection limits are required then a graphite furnace is used as the excitation source (GFAAS), replacing the standard flame. GFAAS is for ultra-trace analysis. It has detection limits that exceed the conventional flame by several orders of magnitude.

Through the use of calibration curves, prepared from suitable standards, a high level of accuracy and precision (±1 to 3 %) is achieved for flame AAS. This allows for compositional as well as trace impurity analysis. Most spectral interferences and matrix effects are overcome by utilizing well characterized conditions and matrix matching of samples and standards. GFAAS has an average accuracy of ±20% (relative) which is suitable for reporting at the ultra-trace impurity level.

LECO - Combustion

The combustion techniques are used for the determination of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur in inorganic samples. The techniques are extremely useful for the determination of these elements over a wide concentration range. This range can be six orders of magnitude (sub-ppm to tens of percent). The level of accuracy and precision (both ~ 1%) available, make them suitable for many applications.

SSMS - Spark Source Mass Spectometry

This is a semiquantitative trace element technique for the analysis of solids and liquid materials. It is an extremely robust, comprehensive and sensitive technique for impurity analysis. It is capable of analyzing, conducting, semiconducting and insulating solids, powders, crystals, liquids, organometallics, ash from organics, unknowns and many other sample forms. It's detection capabilities encompass the periodic table from lithium through uranium, and has the ability to determine impurity levels from the sub-ppm level to 0.1%. SSMS advantages include total simultaneous elemental coverage, low detection limits, semiquantative accuracy (+2-3x), and high resolution capabilities to eliminate many spectral interferences.