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Direct determination of trace elements in powdered samples by in-cell isotope dilution femtosecond laser ablation ICPMS

Abstract : A method has been developed for the direct and simultaneous multielement determination of Cu, Zn, Sn, and Pb in soil and sediment samples using femtosecond laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (fs-LA-ICPMS) in combination with isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS). The in-cell isotope dilution fs-LA-ICPMS method proposed in this work was based on the quasi-simultaneous ablation of the natural abundance sample and the isotopically enriched solid spike, which was performed using a high repetition rate laser and a fast scanning beam device in a combined manner. Both the sample preparation procedure and the total analysis time have been drastically reduced, in comparison with previous approaches, since a unique multielement isotopically enriched solid spike was employed to analyze different powdered samples. Numerous experimental parameters were carefully selected (e.g., carrier gas flow rate, inlet diameter of the ablation cell, sample translation speed, scanner speed, etc.) in order to ensure the complete mixing between the sample and the solid spike aerosols. The proposed in-cell fs-LA-ICP-IDMS method was tested for the analysis of two soil (CRM 142R, GBW-07405) and two sediment (PACS-2, IAEA-405) reference materials, and the analysis of Cu, Zn, Sn, and Pb yielded good agreement of usually not more than 10% deviation from the certified values and precisions of less than 15% relative standard deviation. Furthermore, the concentrations were in agreement not only with the certified values but also with those obtained by ICP-IDMS after the microwave-assisted digestion of the solid samples, demonstrating therefore that in-cell fs-LA-ICP-IDMS opens the possibility for accurate and precise determinations of trace elements in powdered samples reducing the total sample preparation time to less than 5 min. Additionally, scanning electron microscope measurements showed that the aerosol generated by in-cell fs-LA-ICP-IDMS predominantly consisted of linear agglomerates of small particles (in the order of few tens of nanometers) and a few large spherical particles with diameters below 225 nm.
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B. Fernandez, Fanny Claverie, C. Pecheyran, J. Alexis, O.F.X. Donard. Direct determination of trace elements in powdered samples by in-cell isotope dilution femtosecond laser ablation ICPMS. Analytical Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2008, vol. 80 (n° 18), pp. 6981-6994. ⟨10.1021/ac800862p⟩. ⟨hal-01590322⟩

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