Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) is increasingly used for trace analysis in several industries and types of laboratories. Developed in the late 1980's, ICP-MS combines the easy sample introduction and quick analysis of ICP technology with the accurate and low detection limits of a mass spectrometer. The instrument enables trace multielement analysis, often at the part per trillion or part per quatrillion level. ICP-MS is used widely in a number of different fields including drinking water, wastewater, environmental chemistry, geology and soil science, mining/metallurgy, food sciences, and medicine.
Instrument Description Samples decompose to neutral elements in high temperature argon plasma and are analyzed then based on their mass to charge ratios. An ICP-MS can be thought of as four main processes, including sample introduction and aerosol generation, ionization by a plasma source, mass discrimination, and the detection system. The schematic below illustrates this sequence of processes.
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