Special Issues-11-01-2010

Technology in the manufacture of instruments has evolved by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. The capability of these instruments to measure and quantify concentration at picogram levels has made the analyst more aware of trace contaminants unintentionally introduced during analysis. By raising awareness of contamination issues and sources, it is hoped that analysts can take an active role in reducing error in their ICP and ICP-MS analyses.

Almost all current quadrupole ICP-MS systems use collision/reaction cell technology to reduce polyatomic interferences, but the effectiveness of these devices for the removal of unexpected interferences remains a contentious issue. Here, we demonstrate that helium cell mode operation on the instrument described provides an opportunity for analysts to report reliable multielement data from complex, variable, and unknown matrices, using a single He mode method for all required analytes.

Recently, the attention of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) has turned to the elemental impurities found in drug products. Before its most recent activities, USP methods for determining elemental impurities have relied upon outdated methodology that is qualitative, relatively insensitive, and can be used only for the determination of a subset of the toxic elements that should be quantified (USP Chapter <231> - Heavy Metals). Proposed changes have been made that utilize modern analytical techniques for measuring a larger number of heavy metals at toxicologically relevant concentrations. As of this publication, the expected date for implementing changes to USP Chapter <231> is September 2013.

Special Issues

With ICP emission spectrometry, many spectral lines are emitted for each element. The fact that spectral lines for samples containing several elements can overlap is well known as spectral interference. For this reason, it is necessary to use a spectrometer with a resolution over a certain level. Even then, spectral interference might be possible. This article describes a way to measure water samples using inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy using a simultaneous instrument with a CCD detector and a software package that incorporates the knowledge of experienced analysts as a database, simplifying the selection and confirmation of wavelengths, to allow high precision and interference-free analytical results.

The determination of elements in oils and petroleum products is important to refineries, industrial processes, machinery, and transports. This article explores the analysis of fuel oils using ICP-MS for the routine determination of elements at low concentration levels in both clean and dirty fuel oil samples.

The determination of trace metals in volatile organic solvents is of utmost importance to prevent catalyst poisoning and final product contamination. This article discusses the need for the analysis of trace metals in volatile organic solvents and reviews the challenges and problems that have been traditionally associated with this type of analysis when performed using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). A new method is highlighted, combining ICP-MS with an advanced dual syringe pump sample introduction system. The unique capabilities of the technique to deliver direct, efficient, accurate, and contamination-free analysis of trace metals in volatile organic solvents are demonstrated in an application example.

Click the title above to open the Spectroscopy November 2010 Applications of ICP & ICP-MS Supplement, Vol 25 No s11, in an interactive PDF format.