How to Use a “Total Workflow” Sample Prep Approach to Optimize Elemental Analysis



Webinar Date/Time: Thu, Apr 27, 2023 11:00 AM EDT

Looking for ways to improve your elemental analysis in areas such as lab throughput, data quality, labor, costs, and safety? This eWorkshop uses a “total workflow” approach to sample preparation that promises to help you optimize your operations and offers practical advice for preventing workflow disruptions that affect your lab’s performance.

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Event Overview:

As the performance of atomic spectroscopy techniques for elemental analysis has improved over the past several decades, there has been a concurrent need for improvements in sample preparation. While the sample digestion step appropriately draws the most attention in the preparation process, there are other important steps in the sample preparation workflow that also impact the outcomes of the laboratory, some of which may be unexpected in scope and scale.

This eWorkshop presents a “total workflow” approach to sample preparation and examines ways to improve key aspects of elemental analysis such as lab throughput, data quality, costs, and safety. Just as importantly, it also offers practical advice for preventing workflow disruptions, such as incomplete digestions or sample contamination, which can prevent a laboratory from meeting their overall performance, cost, and safety goals.

Several of the presentations include demonstrations of the systems and methods being discussed, including acid purification, automated reagent addition, vessel handling, microwave digestion, sample filtering, and labware cleaning.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Why you should look beyond sample digestion and consider the total sample preparation workflow for elemental analysis
  • Approaches for improving your lab’s throughput, quality, flexibility, safety, and costs
  • Ways to avoid workflow disruptions that have negative effects on your lab’s outcomes

Who Should Attend:

  • Anyone performing or overseeing elemental analysis
  • Lab directors
  • Lab managers/supervisors
  • Researchers
  • Chemists/analysts
  • Technicians/research assistants
  • QC/QA managers

Event Schedule:

Half-day session, 11:00am - 2:00pm EDT

11:00 am eWorkshop Introduction – Bob Alaburda, Spectroscopy

11:05 am Overview of a “Total Workflow” Approach to Sample Prep and Why it Matters

Giulio Colnaghi, Milestone (20 minutes)

This introduction of a ‘total workflow’ approach to sample preparation for elemental analysis examines not only the evolution of the pivotal microwave digestion process, but also additional steps in the workflow that are critical to meeting lab performance requirements. By optimizing these steps, laboratories are better prepared to overcome the challenges they face and avoid workflow disruptions that impede the analysis process and can have additional effects.

11:25 am In-house Acid Purification

Stephen Markle, Milestone (15 minutes)

High-purity acid expenses for elemental analysis labs can consume a significant portion of their operational budgets. In addition, accidental contamination and supply chain challenges for obtaining high-purity acids can put a lab’s operations at risk. In this presentation, you will learn the principles of sub-boiling distillation and how bringing acid purification in-house can result in considerable cost savings and ensure an uninterrupted analysis workflow.

11:40 am Automated Reagent Dosing

Stephen Markle, Milestone (20 minutes)

The reagent addition, or “dosing,” step of the sample preparation process has traditionally been a tedious and laborious task within elemental analysis labs, especially when it involves concentrated acids. This presentation shows how automating the reagent dosing process provides greater consistency, while removing the operator from exposure to harmful acid fumes and freeing them to perform safer and more value- added tasks.

12:00 pm Rotor-based Microwave Digestion, Vessel Handling, and Sample Filtering

Eric Farrell, Milestone (30 minutes)

While still considered the “workhorse” of many elemental analysis laboratories, rotor- based digestion vessels can be cumbersome to handle, and the systems can also be the weak link in a laboratory's sample prep workflow if something goes wrong. In this presentation you will learn how various aspects of rotor-based digestion vessels, systems, and accessories can work to optimize a workflow, as well as avoid disruptions such as the need to rerun samples.

12:30 pm Single Reaction Chamber Microwave Digestion

Gianpaolo Rota, Milestone (20 minutes)

The introduction of Single Reaction Chamber (SRC) microwave digestion technology provided a step-change in sample prep performance and capabilities for elemental analysis. In the context of workflow, SRC’s benefits include higher overall sample throughput, faster digestions for difficult samples, and reduced labor requirements. By digesting all samples, regardless of type or acid chemistry, at the same temperature and pressure, it works to avoid incomplete digestions that can lead to mass and optical spectral interferences, sample reruns, and increased instrument downtime.

12:50 pm Introducing ultraWAVE 3 – Third-generation Benchtop SRC technology

Gianpaolo Rota, Milestone (30 minutes)

The third generation of benchtop SRC-based instruments has been recently released, providing further benefits to the sample prep workflow for elemental analysis. A redesigned reaction chamber allows a significant increase in the number of samples per digestion run. Innovations such as enhanced automation, increased corrosion resistance, and advanced thermal controls work together to lower the labor requirements, reduce the potential for contamination and operational errors, and increase the number of digestion runs that can be performed both in a single day and over the lifetime of the system.

1:20 pm Automated Labware Cleaning

Stephen Markle, Milestone (15 minutes)

Using acid baths and microwave systems for cleaning sample prep vessels and other types of labware can have a substantial impact on an elemental analysis lab’s throughput, workflow, and efficiency. In this presentation, you will learn how automating this step using acid-steam cleaning keeps your microwave system focused on digesting samples and removes the tedium and hazards of hand-cleaning labware from your staff.

1:35 pm Workflow Case Studies

Giulio Colnaghi, Milestone (15 minutes)

Multiple scenarios for elemental analysis laboratories are presented, showing how decisions related to sample prep workflow can affect a lab’s performance, costs, and safety.

1:50 pm Q&A


Giulio Colnaghi
Marketing Manager
Milestone, Srl

Giulio Colnaghi has been working at Milestone since 2003. He is a chemist and started his career at Milestone as an application specialist, focusing on new method development and addressing specific needs in sample preparation. Later he transitioned to area manager for most countries of Latin America eastern Europe, and the US. Since 2018, he has held the position of marketing manager at Milestone headquarters in Bergamo, Italy. During his career at Milestone, Giulio has worked with hundreds of laboratories and chemists to help them in overcoming daily challenges in elemental analysis by optimizing their workflow and methods. Today, Giulio aims to support worldwide laboratories to enhance their efficiency using state-of-the-art technologies.

Stephen Markle
Product and Applications Manager
Milestone Inc.

Stephen Markle earned his bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University and shortly after relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, to start his career as a chemist in the nutraceutical industry. In this role, he tested incoming raw materials and outgoing finished products using ICP-MS, HPLC, and GC. Once cannabis regulations started coming to fruition in the state, he took a chemist position at a newly licensed lab to help design and implement the facility for Nevada's compliance testing regulations, with a specific focus on heavy metals and microbiology testing. Eventually Stephen moved from the contract lab environment into cannabis production and manufacturing, taking a position as VP of production for Planet 13. In this position, he designed and managed an 18,000-square-foot production facility, formulating over 40 edible SKU's, from carbonated beverages to chocolates and gummies. Stephen is currently the product and applications manager for Milestone Inc., overseeing marketing, research, and customer needs across Milestone’s equipment lines in the US.

Gianpaolo Rota
Product Manager
Milestone, Srl

Gianpaolo Rota has been an application chemist at Milestone for over 15 years. Thanks to continuous collaboration with laboratories and universities located all over the world, he has gained substantial expertise in sample preparation for elemental analysis over the course of his career. His specialization is in the use of Milestone’s microwave-based instrumentation line that is dedicated to sample digestion, which includes both rotor-based systems and Single Reaction Chamber technology. He is also one of the company’s experts for its Clean Chemistry products that are used to reduce trace element contamination in samples and reagents. In addition to developing new sample prep application methods, Gianpaolo participates in international fairs and conferences, organizes training classes focused on sample preparation, and provides ready support to elemental analysis laboratories.

Eric Farrell
Product Specialist
Milestone Inc.

Eric Farrell is the product specialist for the Digestion and Clean Chemistry lines at Milestone Inc. Eric obtained his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Union College in 2005 with a focus in inorganic chemistry. Prior to joining Milestone, he worked in the particle characterization field as a laboratory manager and in domestic and international sales, where he supported sales and applications across all product lines.

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