About ICP/OES Analysis

ICP is a type of emission spectroscopy that uses the inductively coupled plasma (argon, in our case) to produce excited atoms and ions that emit electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths characteristic of a particular element. The intensity of this emission is indicative of the concentration of the element within the sample. The sensitivity of this technique is quite high, varying by element, from 1ppm to 10ppb.

  • Approaches

    The ICP instrument requires that the sample be introduced into the plasma zone of the instrument as a liquid stream.

    • Liquid samples are appropriately diluted and spiked with internal standards.  
    • Solid samples are converted to liquids by a variety of methods.  
    • Some samples simply need to be dissolved.

    For other samples, more aggressive dissolution methods are required, including acid digestions and microwave assisted digestions. 

    We can detect the following elements:

    Aluminum, Arsenic, Gold, Boron, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Calcium, Cadmium, Cerium, Cobalt, Chromium, Cesium, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Iron, Gallium, Gadolinium, Germanium, Hafnium, Mercury, Holmium, Iodine, Indium, Iridium, Potassium, Lanthanum, Lithium, Lutetium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Sodium, Niobium, Neodymium, Nickel, Osmium, Phosphorus, Palladium, Lead, Platinum, Praseodymium, Rubidium, Rhenium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Silver, Sulfur, Antimony, Scandium, Selenium, Silicon, Samarium, Tin, Strontium, Tantalum, Terbium, Tellurium, Thorium, Titanium, Thallium, Thulium, Uranium, Vanadium, Tungsten, Yttrium, Ytterbium, Zinc, Zirconium

    The resulting solutions are then properly diluted and spiked with internal standards.  Then, the peristaltic pump transports this analytical solution into the ICP plasma torch.

  • Sample Considerations

    Sample sizes tend to be between 250 and 500 mg for solid samples per replicate.

    Water samples should normally be acidified.

    Analyte incompatibilities need to be evaluated on a case by case basis, these incompatibilities can be due to spectral interference (such as with high concentrations of iron)or reactions in solution (such as silver and chlorine).

    Liquid samples containing low concentrations of mercury must be stored in glass containers, in 10% nitric acid.

    Glass containers cannot be used when boron or silicon are the species of interest and may cause issues with other elements such as aluminum.

    Please contact us with your specific sample consideration questions and ICP Analysis needs.

  • Experience

    Our experience with ICP Analysis Includes:

    • Identification of residual catalyst in polymers (tin, zirconium, etc.)
    • Identification of flame retardants (antimony trioxide, phosphorus)
    • Analysis of antimicrobial agents in vinyl fabrics (silver)
    • Identification of heavy metals in bioabsorbable implants
    • Determination of the amounts of inorganic fillers (calcium carbonate, titanium dioxide)

    Inductively Coupled Plasma ICP Spectroscopy