ICP-MS: More information

The ion source within the ICP-MS instrument contains a 10,000 kelvin (9725 degrees Celsius) argon plasma, a temperature similar to the surface of the Sun! This energy is needed to desolvate, atomise and ionise a fine mist of most trace elements in the sample solutions into a beam of highly energised particles. After the interface region an array of lenses and high voltage electronics, in a high vacuum environment, accelerate and focus the ions efficiently and with electrical integrity. Further inside the mass spectrometer the ions are then filtered according to their mass to charge ratio (m/z) and are then sequentially detected by a secondary electron multiplier. The ICP-MS instruments within our department have the capability to provide accurate data for many trace elements within a linear working range that spans up to nine orders of magnitude and detect concentrations down to 1 fg.g-1. This makes ICP-MS an ideal analytical tool for geochemistry research, especially for applications that strive to provide accurate and precise trace element data.