Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer

The ABRF has two ICP-MS instruments – a Thermo Finnigan ELEMENT2 high-resolution ICP-MS and an Agilent Technologies 7700x quadrupole ICP-MS.

The ELEMENT2 employs a double-focusing, magnetic sector-field mass spectrometer design whereas the 7700x is a quadrupole system.  High-resolution ICP-MS instruments differ from their (benchtop) quadrupole counterparts in that they rely upon on accurate mass resolution to separate spectral interferences as opposed to using some form of collision and/or reaction cell technology. Multi-element analysis across the periodic table is possible with detection limits ranging from mg/L (parts per million, ppm) to sub-pg/L (parts per quadrillion, ppq), dependent upon element species and the instrument used.  The mass range of both instruments is 1 to 260u.

The ABRF's ELEMENT2 is only capable of solution (liquid) ICP-MS analysis of samples whereas the 7700x is able to analyse both solution and solid samples via an integrated liquid autosampler and interfaced laser ablation system (213nm Nd:YAG).  The ABRF also has two digestion systems available for ICP-MS sample preparation – an SCP Science DigiPREP MS digestion block ('hotplate') system and a Milestone MLS 1200 MEGA microwave digestion system.

What applications/analyses is ICP-MS suitable for?

ICP-MS is widely used for the measurement and isotopic analysis of elements in the following fields:

  • environmental sciences
  • biological sciences
  • medical/clinical sciences
  • earth sciences (geochemical/geological)
  • oceanography
  • chemical sciences

ICP-MS is especially useful in the analyses of metals, particularly heavy metals (e.g. Pb, Cd, Hg Au, Ag), transition metals (e.g. Cr, Zn, Fe, Ni, Cu) and Uranium (U). Speciation and isotope ratio analysis of elements is also performed with ICP-MS instruments.

A vast array of sample types and matrices can be analysed with appropriate sample preparation.  Examples include elemental analysis of wine, urine, blood, dialysis fluids, seawater, drinking water, geological rocks and ocean sediments.  Several US EPA Methods specify the use of ICP-MS for the identification and measurement of environmental toxics such as heavy metals.

Equipment Contact

Thermo HR-ICP-MS
(Trace element and isotopic analysis)

ABRF - LS4.15

Tony Rothkirch
T: (02) 492 17813
Agilent 7700x LA ICP-MS
(Trace element and isotopic analysis)
ABRF - LS4.15

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.