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Video Series: ICP-OES

Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, also known as ICP-OES, is a method for analyzing the elemental composition of materials. The instrument used to perform this test contains a light source unit, a spectrophotometer, a detector, and a data processing unit. 

Our qualitative screen by ICP-OES can detect 65 elements. Each of those elements, along with five others, can also be quantitatively analyzed. Below is the list of elements that can be detected by ICP-OES:

Aluminum, Arsenic, Gold, Boron, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Calcium, Cadmium, Cerium, Cobalt, Chromium, Cesium, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Iron, Gallium, Gadolinium, Germanium, Hafnium, Mercury, Holmium, Iodine, Indium, Iridium, Potassium, Lanthanum, Lithium, Lutetium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Sodium, Niobium, Neodymium, Nickel, Osmium, Phosphorus, Palladium, Lead, Platinum, Praseodymium, Rubidium, Rhenium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Silver, Sulfur, Antimony, Scandium, Selenium, Silicon, Samarium, Tin, Strontium, Tantalum, Terbium, Tellurium, Thorium, Titanium, Thallium, Thulium, Uranium, Vanadium, Tungsten, Yttrium, Ytterbium, Zinc, and Zirconium.

ICP-OES testing requires samples to be introduced into the plasma zone of the instrument as a liquid stream. Liquid samples are diluted and then spiked with internal standards while solid samples must be converted to liquids. Due to the sensitivity of the instrument , sample preparation is performed on a case by case basis. Lower quantitation limits can be as low as 1 part per million in digested solid samples and 100 parts per billion in water samples. 

The sample is pumped into an argon plasma chamber. Plasma is the 4th state of matter which is made up of hot, ionized gas. The inductively coupled plasma causes the atoms and ions to become excited, changing the energy level. The return of the ions to their original state create electromagnetic radiation wavelengths. The particular wavelength indicates the element and the concentration of the element in the sample. 

By determining the elemental composition, we can ascertain the amounts of certain inorganic catalysts, stabilizers, and pigments. This information ensures the material is formulated correctly and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements.

To ensure accuracy in testing and to certify the method performance is suitable, calibration and various quality checks are performed with NIST traceable certified standards.

ICP-OES testing is typically used for environmental testing of soil, purity of food and drink products, the makeup of materials, cleanliness of minerals, and many other applications. 

Learn more about our expertise in ICP-OES testing by watching our video below, or on our website. If you are in need of expert materials testing and materials analysis, contact us today.