ICP-OES Capabilities, Developments, Limitations, and Any Potential Challengers?

June 01, 2020


In celebration of Spectroscopy’s 35th Anniversary, leading experts discuss important issues and challenges in analytical spectroscopy.

XRF in Agronomy Applications—Analysis of Plant Tissues and Fertilizers

November 01, 2019

ByDirk Wissmann

Special Issues

New excitation developments and advanced detector technology enable the use of EDXRF for multielement analysis of plant material and fertilizers, with improved detection limits and reduced measurement time. These features are combined with easy sample preparation and low cost of investment.

Applying EDXRF to Agricultural Analysis

November 01, 2019

ByLaura Bush

Special Issues

EDXRF offers potential advantages over ICP-OES for elemental analysis in agriculture. Karen Daly and Anna Fenelon of the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland spoke to us about their work investigating agricultural applications of this technique.

Determination of Rare Earth Elements in Geological and Agricultural Samples by ICP-OES

October 01, 2017

ByJoaquim A. Nóbrega|Daniela Schiavo|Clarice D. B. Amaral|Juan A. V. A. Barros|Ana Rita A. Nogueira|Alex Virgilio|Raquel C. Machado


This method demonstrates that ICP-OES is a suitable alternative to ICP-MS for the determination of rare earth elements in geological and agricultural samples

Micronutrient Analysis from Soil to Food: Determination by ICP-OES

November 01, 2016

ByKen Neubauer|Nick Spivey

Special Issues

The nutritional value of food depends on many components, including vitamins and minerals. While both of these occur naturally, they are also commonly added during processing to increase the nutritional content. Naturally occurring nutrients enter plants (and ultimately animals who consume plants) from the soils in which they grow, so it is equally important to monitor the nutrient content of both soil and final food products. Since the number of elemental nutrients is limited and they are present at relatively high concentrations, ICP-OES is an ideal technique for their measurement in soil and food. This work will focus on the elemental nutrient analysis of soils and two categories of food products: milk and fruit juice, whose nutritional content is particularly important as they are commonly consumed by young children.

New Approaches in Sample Preparation and Precise Multielement Analysis of Crude Oils and Refined Petroleum Products Using Single-Reaction-Chamber Microwave Digestion and Triple-Quadrupole ICP-MS

October 01, 2016

ByRobert Thomas|John Casey|Yongjun Gao|Weihang Yang


October’s AP column highlights a team of geochemists at the University of Houston who have been developing methods to streamline multi-element analysis for a more complete fingerprinting of oils by using one sample preparation method utilizing a single reaction chamber microwave digestion system and then analyzing these solutions for major, and minor elements by ICP-OES and low abundance trace elements by triple quadrupole (QQQ) ICP-MS. Results to date using this approach have shown that complete elemental recovery and removal of organic matrices can be achieved safely and that up to 57 elements can be determined in oils with good accuracy and precision. Removal of organic matrices during digestion not only helps to limit the formation of polyatomic spectral interferences, but improves instrument stability and reduces carbon build in the sample introduction and interface regions, which have traditionally plagued “dilute and shoot” methods.

Preparation of Pharmaceutical Samples for Elemental Impurities Analysis: Some Potential Approaches

April 01, 2016

ByNancy Lewen


The use of atomic spectroscopy techniques and sample preparation procedures is something that is not as routine in the pharmaceutical industry as are chromatography-based techniques and sample preparation procedures. With new requirements being implemented regarding elemental impurities by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) and International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), analysts in the pharmaceutical industry are, in many cases, working to determine how best to analyze their samples. Sample preparation techniques that can be used for pharmaceutical samples are the same ones that have been used by other industries for many years. This paper will provide a brief overview of potential techniques.

Sample Preparation Method for Mercury Analysis in Reagent Chemicals by ICP-OES

November 01, 2015

ByYogesh Parikh|Huifang Lang|Samantha Mahmoud|James Lallo

Special Issues

Efficient and accurate measurement of mercury concentration is a challenge. A direct sample preparation method for reliable ICP-OES mercury measurement would be invaluable to chemical manufacturers, testing laboratories, and other industries. Historically, ICP-OES Hg measurements have been plagued by poor Hg detection limits, severe carryover effects, and sample instability. In this study, we present a method of sample preparation for ICP-OES mercury analysis in various reagent chemical compounds. This sample preparation method is straightforward and direct, allowing mercury analysis in a variety of reagent chemicals without digestion.

Determining Trace Elements in Edible Oils Using Inductively Coupled Plasma–Optical Emission Spectrometry

November 01, 2015

ByManuel Almeida|Karolina Carpenter

Special Issues

This paper describes the analysis of edible oils radial view ICP-OES. Information is provided regarding the most suitable wavelengths, background correction, and integration times. Results of a detection limit study are presented. The accuracy of the analytical method is validated using soybean, olive, and corn oil matrices.

Determining Elemental Impurities in Pharmaceutical Materials: How to Choose the Right Technique

March 01, 2015

ByRobert Thomas


This installment evaluates the application requirements for the determination of 15 elemental impurities in pharmaceutical materials as described in the new United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Chapters and and offers suggestions about which atomic spectroscopic technique might be the most suitable to use.