Fundamental and methodological investigations for the improvement of elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
This dissertation describes a variety of studies meant to improve the analytical performance of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and laser ablation (LA) ICP-MS. The emission behavior of individual droplets and LA generated particles in an ICP is studied using a high-speed, high frame rate digital camera. Phenomena are observed during the ablation of silicate glass that would cause elemental fractionation during analysis by ICP-MS. Preliminary work for ICP torch developments specifically tailored for the improvement of LA sample introduction are presented. An abnormal scarcity of metal-argon polyatomic ions (MAr+) is observed during ICP-MS analysis. Evidence shows that MAr+ ions are dissociated by collisions with background gas in a shockwave near the tip of the skimmer cone. Method development towards the improvement of LA-ICP-MS for environmental monitoring is described. A method is developed to trap small particles in a collodion matrix and analyze each particle individually by LA-ICP-MS.