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ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry) and ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy) are analytical techniques used in chemistry and materials science to determine the elemental composition of a sample.



Inductively Linked Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma OES (ICP-OES) use the same flame technology where a prepared sample is continually inhaled into an inductively coupled, argon plasma discharge and ionized at high temperature. They are then taken into the mass spectrometer once they have been transformed into ions, where they are concentrated by electrostatic lenses and separated based on their mass-to-charge ratio, allowing the ICP-MS to provide isotopic information for each target element. The mass-to-charge ratio of the separated ions is used to calibrate the detector with known concentrations of standards to estimate the quantitative concentration of an element. The separated ions are received by the detector with an ion signal that is proportional to the concentration.

The flame technique known as inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy, or ICP-OES or ICP-AES (atomic emission spectroscopy), is used to identify trace components in prepared samples. An electromagnetic field ignites and ionizes the argon gas flowing through an ICP torch, producing plasma at a high temperature of around 7000 K. In this inductively coupled, argon-plasma discharge, where the excitation temperatures can reach as high as 7,000 K, an adequately prepared sample is constantly inhaled (i.e., nebulized). The elements (atoms) of interest enter an excited state and, upon returning to the ground state, emit light with wavelengths unique to each element. By interpolating along the predefined calibration lines, the concentration of each element is calculated.

ICP-Analysis is a helpful instrument for quality control applications, contaminant analysis, and more since it has low detection limits for chemical determination.

Video 01: AA, ICP-OES & ICP-MS Concepts, Instrumentation and Applications | Sachin Salunkhe | CSI


ICP-MS & ICP-OES are highly sensitive and accurate and can detect trace amounts of elements in a wide range of samples. They are widely used in various fields, including environmental analysis, materials science, and forensic science, and can provide valuable information on the composition and properties of samples.

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