Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer
The Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) is an instrument used for trace elemental analysis. This periodic table shows possible analytes and instrument detection limits.
The ICP-MS can be used to analyze a broad range of samples including but not limited to water, soil, minerals, airborne particulates and biological materials.
The instrument can be run in two modes:
- Semi-quantitative mode - is excellent for determining elements of interest and rough elemental concentrations without preparing external standards
- Fully quantitative mode - accurate analysis of selected analytes with prepared external standards.
Web-based video workshop
- Read the 30 min guide to the ICP-MS
- Review the description of Semi-Quantitative and Quantitative methods to determine which workshop series to start with.
- Review the literature to familiarize yourself with the experimental parameters such as sample type, elements of interest, detection needs, and expected sample concentrations.
- Students doing the full quantitative workshops are encouraged to read EPA method 200.8.
Print a copy of the Quantitative Instrument Instructions and an example summary report dataset before you begin the first workshop. Follow the instrument instructions as you watch the videos. Take detailed notes on everything presented in the video. Pay particular attention to theory of the analysis, operation of the instrument and its software, quality control, and data analysis. Add any clarifying notes to the instruction sheet for use of the instrument. Theory notes should be kept on a separate page.
Sample Preparation/Lab Methods Workshop
In person workshop
If sample preparation is not covered as part of your program, please contact Jenna Nelson to set up a sample prep workshop. It is best to begin this process as soon as possible after your first workshop. As part of this process, you will prepare procedures to collect, preserve, store, and process your samples.
Hands on workshop in Lab 2, Room 3223
Soon after completing your first workshop, review your notes and compare them with other students’. The website is available at any time so that you can return to it and review sections as needed.
For the second workshop, all of the material presented in the 1st workshop will be converted into questions or activities for you to answer or perform. It is important to practice for this workshop by asking and answering questions orally. We highly recommend practicing this format with a classmate.
Show up to your workshop on time, students showing up late will lose the opportunity to join the workshop.
This an interactive workshop at the instrument with a maximum of 2 students. In this workshop, all of the material presented in the first workshop will be converted into questions or activities for you to answer or perform. This is your opportunity to receive hands-on practice with the operation of the instrument and practice the demonstration of theory and data analysis. You should aim to have retained at least 80% of the theory material from the first workshop for this workshop.
Please bring your instructions to use during the operation portion of the workshop. Also bring your typed notes from workshop 1, and questions for the Instrumentation TA to review. You will not be allowed to use the notes to answer questions during the workshop, but will be allowed to add clarifying information to them.
At the conclusion of the second workshop you should be able to present and or answer questions about the instrumental theory, demonstrate hands on operation of the instrument and its software, and show an understanding of quality control and data analysis protocols.
Operator’s License Test in Lab 2 Room 3223
Review your notes to be sure you have a solid understanding of the material presented in workshops 1 and 2. Practice answering questions about the instrument out loud, with a partner if possible.
The Elan software is available in the CAL for hands-on practice. The ICP-MS Reprocessing Instructions have directions for opening the Elan software in on a virtual machine. Opening the software in a virtual machine will be required anytime you are using it anywhere other than the instrument.
Use the Elan software in the CAL to create a sample file and save it to the network. You will be required to load this file during your third workshop.
Show up to your workshop on time, students showing up late will not be allowed to join the workshop.
This is a 1 on 1 interactive workshop with the instrument TA. Workshop 3 will be very similar in content and structure to workshop 2 except that the student will be evaluated on their knowledge of theory, operation, quality control and data analysis.
During the 3rd workshop, you should be able to present and/or answer questions about instrumental theory. You should also be able to demonstrate independent, safe, and efficient use of the instrument and its software, show an understanding of the results, and be able to justify their validity. Students that meet these goals will receive an operator’s license.
Instrument Method Development
Hands on workshop in Lab 2, Room 3223
If a method for your analysis has not been preapproved, please contact Jenna Nelson to setup an appointment to set up an instrument method for your work.
Typically located in the CAL