Equipment and abilities for inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) have long gone since the approach was first utilized in the analysis. Today’s ICP-MS equipment can handle practically any sample type, measure almost every element, and provide precise concentrations from parts per quadrillion to percent levels. There is no other method for analyzing metals that comes close.
However, this implies that there are greater expectations of these machines and their capabilities than ever before. ICP MS instruments are intended to measure major and trace elements in one run, rather than only a few heavy metals in drinking water, for example.
Naturally, these features raise the cost of a device. So, based on your budget, how do you determine which one to go with? The essential elements to consider while purchasing an ICP-MS instrument are listed below.
- Removal Of Interfering Factors
Interference elimination guarantees that reliable findings are obtained regularly. The most bothersome interferences are usually spectral interferences. This occurs when a polyatomic analyte or a multi-charged analyte has the same mass to charge ratio as the analyte to be analyzed.
Collision reaction cell (CRC) innovation or high resolution (HR) technology are the primary forms of interference removal technologies. In quadrupole ICP-MS, CRC is the most common method. There are two types of quadrupoles: single quadrupole and triple quadrupole (TQ). CRC is generally used with an argon gas such as hydrogen in the former. These setups are more widespread and are less expensive. In most TQ-ICP-MS instruments, reactive gases are used in a technique that allows for more precise interference elimination. This has reduced detection limitations (LODs), but it comes at a more fantastic price.
Find out exactly what kind of training comes with the equipment and how often it is provided. Most equipment comes with a two- to a three-day training program for one user. However, most vendors are flexible on the number of persons who can attend. Some suppliers also provide application training, in which they demonstrate how to enhance procedures for typical applications such as environmental, clinical, and semiconductor analysis. Finally, a question about the quality of their training when they purchased their instruments and their thoughts on the operator’s instructions from other users.
- Speed And Signal-To-Noise Ratio
Due to modern ion optics tech and a high-energy plasma source, ICP-MS systems are susceptible. Due to its excellent sensitivity, it is possible to analyze common elements concentrations. In ICP-MS, the analyte background is also critical, and it must be kept to a minimum to get the best LODs.
Low LODs are more arduous (and expensive) to obtain, but regulatory requirements frequently require them. It’s critical to get an ICP-MS that has the best signal (sensitivity) to noise (background) ratio to meet or surpass regulatory criteria.
Another essential consideration is speed since more throughput frequently equates to lower costs. ICP-MS systems are quick, taking two to three minutes to analyze a sample.
This article gives you some general advice on the most critical factors to consider when selecting ICP MS instruments. However, be prepared to spend several months evaluating the market to get the best gear for your application needs. Then, remember to prioritize your objectives and give each one a weighting factor based on how significant they are for the data you’ll be studying.