inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry that is highly sensitive and capable of the determination of a range of metals and several non-metals at concentrations below one part in 1012 (part per trillion). It is based on coupling 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.
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. Specific analytes suffer from interferences exclusive to ICP-MS technique. Verification of analysis results requires additional effort.
The variety of applications exceeds that of ICP-OES and includes isotopic speciation. Due to possible applications in nuclear technologies, ICP-MS hardware is a subject for special exporting regulations.
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