ICP-MS – Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry
The mass spectrometry with an inductively coupled plasma is a very sensitive method and is primarily used for metal analysis. The sample to be analyzed is digested with a matrix-suitable method and injected into the plasma after nebulization. Plasma temperatures of 6,000 to 12,000 K lead to an evaporation of the aerosol and an ionization of the contained atoms. With a high vacuum the ions are transferred through an interface and an ion optics into the mass spectrometer. The selection of individual masses is done by a quadrupole with changing voltage and frequency ratios, so that only one mass is detected at a time.
The method enables the detection of many elements over several decades of ten and is particularly suitable for quantification in the trace range. The typical application range is the µg/L and ng/L range. In addition to the quantification of numerous elements, isotope ratios can also be determined.