Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS)
The Department of Geological Sciences houses a Perkin Elmer Elan 6000 Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (PE 6000 ICP-MS). The present configuration of the PE 6000 ICP-MS is geared towards analysis of trace metal concentrations (typically ppb levels, as low as ppt for some elements) in aqueous solutions. Typical applications include simultaneous multi-element determination of low level metal concentrations in surface and groundwater samples, as well as solutions from rock, soil and plant digestions.
The analytical procedure involves transporting an aqueous solution (inorganic or organic solvent) by means of a peristaltic pump into a nebulizer where the solution is aspirated and forms an aerosol, that then passes through an argon-sourced plasma. The components in the aerosol are ionized by the plasma, mostly to their elemental ionized state (although minor amounts of doubly charged ions and oxides are formed as well). The quadrupoles and associated electronic lens system sorts the ions on a mass/charge basis, and the software integrates the response of the ions after they impact upon an electron multiplier detector. The present inlet configuration consumes about 1 ml of sample per minute, and a typical time per analysis is 3-5 minutes. Dr Graney is in charge of instrument oversight.