Investigations into the origins of polyatomic ions in inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry

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An inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) is an elemental analytical instrument capable of determining nearly all elements in the periodic table at limits of detection in the parts per quadrillion and with a linear analytical range over 8-10 orders of magnitude. Three concentric quartz tubes make up the plasma torch. Argon gas is spiraled through the outer tube and generates the plasma powered by a looped load coil operating at 27.1 or 40.6 MHz. The argon flow of the middle channel is used to keep the plasma above the innermost tube through which solid or aqueous sample is carried in ... continued below

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168 p.

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McIntyre, Sally M. January 1, 2010.

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  • Ames Laboratory
    Publisher Info: Ames Laboratory (AMES), Ames, IA (United States)
    Place of Publication: Ames, Iowa

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An inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) is an elemental analytical instrument capable of determining nearly all elements in the periodic table at limits of detection in the parts per quadrillion and with a linear analytical range over 8-10 orders of magnitude. Three concentric quartz tubes make up the plasma torch. Argon gas is spiraled through the outer tube and generates the plasma powered by a looped load coil operating at 27.1 or 40.6 MHz. The argon flow of the middle channel is used to keep the plasma above the innermost tube through which solid or aqueous sample is carried in a third argon stream. A sample is progressively desolvated, atomized and ionized. The torch is operated at atmospheric pressure. To reach the reduced pressures of mass spectrometers, ions are extracted through a series of two, approximately one millimeter wide, circular apertures set in water cooled metal cones. The space between the cones is evacuated to approximately one torr. The space behind the second cone is pumped down to, or near to, the pressure needed for the mass spectrometer (MS). The first cone, called the sampler, is placed directly in the plasma plume and its position is adjusted to the point where atomic ions are most abundant. The hot plasma gas expands through the sampler orifice and in this expansion is placed the second cone, called the skimmer. After the skimmer traditional MS designs are employed, i.e. quadrupoles, magnetic sectors, time-of-flight. ICP-MS is the leading trace element analysis technique. One of its weaknesses are polyatomic ions. This dissertation has added to the fundamental understanding of some of these polyatomic ions, their origins and behavior. Although mainly continuing the work of others, certain novel approaches have been introduced here. Chapter 2 includes the first reported efforts to include high temperature corrections to the partition functions of the polyatomic ions in ICP-MS. This and other objections to preceeding papers in this area were addressed. Errors in the measured T<sub>gas</sub> values were found for given errors in the experimental and spectroscopic values. The ionization energy of the neutral polyatomic ion was included in calculations to prove the validity of ignoring more complicated equilibria. Work was begun on the question of agreement between kinetics of the plasma and interface and the increase and depletion seen in certain polyatomic ions. This dissertation was also the first to report day to day ranges for T<sub>gas</sub> values and to use a statistical test to compare different operating conditions. This will help guide comparisons of previous and future work. Chapter 4 was the first attempt to include the excited electronic state 2 in the partition function of ArO<sup>+</sup> as well as the first to address the different dissociation products of the ground and first electronic levels of ArO<sup>+</sup>. Chapter 5 reports an interesting source of memory in ICP-MS that could affect mathematical corrections for polyatomic ions. For future work on these topics I suggest the following experiments and investigations. Clearly not an extensive list, they are instead the first topics curiosity brings to mind. (1) Measurement of T<sub>gas</sub> values when using the flow injection technique of Appendix B. It was believed that there was a fundamental difference in the plasma when the auto-sampler was used versus a continuous injection. Is this reflected in T<sub>gas</sub> values? (2) The work of Chapter 3 can be expanded and supplemented with more trials, new cone materials (i.e. copper, stainless steel) and more cone geometries. Some of this equipment is already present in the laboratory, others could be purchased or made. (3) T<sub>gas</sub> values from Chapter 3 could be correlated with instrument pressures during the experiment. Pressures after the skimmer cone were recorded for many days but have yet to be collated with the measured T<sub>gas</sub> values. (4) The work in Chapter 5 could be expanded to include more metals. Does the curious correlation between measured T<sub>gas</sub> and element boiling point persist? (5) Investigate non-linear correlations to T<sub>gas</sub> values of the MO<sup>+</sup> memory in Chapter 5. Temperatures along the skimmer walls are not a linear gradient. Ring deposits have been observed on the cone and photographs of the interface show light intensities shaping a sort of tailing peak along the outside skimmer wall. Is there a physical property of the metals or metal oxides that would give this peak with the T<sub>gas</sub> values? (6) Chemical state speciation of the metal deposits on the skimmers of Chapter 5. There may be a more logical correlation between Tgas and a physical property of the deposit-ing chemical if all the metals do not deposit in the same form. (7) A collaboration with our computational collegues would be most welcome. Newer calculations for ArO<sup>+</sup> and RuO<sup>+</sup> would be very helpful.

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168 p.

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  • Report No.: IS--T 2919
  • Grant Number: AC02-07CH11358
  • DOI: 10.2172/985313 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 985313
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1014581

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  • January 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 2, 2017, 3:07 p.m.

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McIntyre, Sally M. Investigations into the origins of polyatomic ions in inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, thesis or dissertation, January 1, 2010; Ames, Iowa. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1014581/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.