Factors Affecting the Production of Fast Transient Signals in Single Shot Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
Abstract:Low sample consumption and high achievable spatial resolution combine to make laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) an attractive direct sampling technique for the analysis of solids. These desirable characteristics are best realized when the laser ablation system is operated in a single-shot fashion, in which each laser pulse produces a transient analyte signal. The temporal width of a single-shot LA analyte transient is inversely related to the best achievable signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). Thus, production of fast transient signals is an important consideration in single-shot LA analyses. In this study we explore the effects on transient pulse width of ablation-cell volume, the diameter and length of tubing used to connect the ablation cell to the ICP, and the composition and flow rate of ablation-cell sweep gas. Minimization of ablation-cell volume and the length and diameter of the transfer tube was found to dramatically decrease the peak widths of transient signals. However, use of helium gas to sweep analyte particles from the ablation cell was found to significantly reduce the effect of cell volume on transient width. Use of a cell volume of 0.70 cm3 and optimization of other instrumental parameters produced a transient sample pulse 85 ms in duration and limits of detection in the tens of femtograms range for single-shot laser-ablation events.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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