In 1983, the first inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) was introduced, revolutionizing metals analysis. The new technology allowed for metals to be analyzed with unprecedented productivity and the ability to attain ultra-low detection limits with excellent precision and accuracy. While there are many benefits with ICP-MS metals analysis, there are also drawbacks inherent to the methodology and many different types of interferences, such as isobaric, polyatomic, and double-charged, ions that can result in skewed data. Employing various interference reduction technologies, such as collision cell and reaction cell, work great for many of these interferences; however, the different mechanisms utilized by each method have uniquely inherent limitations. The more recent technology employed by the Agilent 8800 ICP Triple Quad (ICP-QQQ) utilizes non-reactive gases such as helium as well as reactive gases like ammonia, oxygen, and hydrogen. The unique configuration of this instrument greatly reduces variability, ensuring delivering greater accuracy and more consistent results. Unless you know exactly what all the constituents are in your sample, you cannot predict what kind of interference you may have and the ability to run an instrument in different modes and look for matching results between the modes increases the probability of a successful project while lowering the overall cost.

If you would like to learn more about the topic of avoiding analytical interferences, you may view a presentation given by BRL’s Technical Director, Dr. Hakan Gürleyük, at the 2015 Department of Defense Environmental Monitoring and Data Quality meeting, Analysis for Arsenic and Hexavalent Chromium: How to avoid false positives and increase data quality. For more specific information about how the various options for interference reduction technology can support your project or for a quotation, feel free to contact us.