ICP Analysis

ICP-AES & ICP Mass Spectrometry

ICP Mass Spectrometry Analysis
ICP Analysis, also called ICP Testing, is performed at LTI to identify and measure nearly all elements in the spectrum necessary for the analysis of metal samples. Both Mass Spectrometry and Atomic Emission Spectroscopy are offered by Laboratory Testing Inc. using ICP instruments.

Both ICP test methods offer the following capabilities and can be performed on solid and liquid samples:

  • Calculation of quantitative and qualitative data
  • Determination of a range of metals and several non-metals
  • Detection and identification of trace unknowns

The Latest Technology for Trace Element Analysis

LTI provides ICP Testing using the latest technology in spectrometers at our facility in the Philadelphia, PA (USA) area:

ICP Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES)

ICP analysisICP-AES Analysis is a technique that can determine elemental concentrations of trace to major while detecting most elements in the periodic table. Reliable results can be obtained for about 70 elements with detection limits in the parts per billion range.

ICP Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

ICP-MS Analysis is highly sensitive and capable of multi-element trace analysis and ultra trace analysis, often at the parts-per-trillion level. Testing for trace elements can be performed on a range of materials from super alloys to high purity materials.

Test Methods/Specifications

  • ASTM E1613
  • MIL Specifications

Elements Analyzed During an ICP Test Scan

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

The only elements which cannot be measured by ICP methods are C, H, O, N and the halogens.

Contact our team to discuss your sample and testing requirements.

The ICP Test Processes

ICP analysis is performed at LTI with computer-controlled spectrometers. Computer software controls and monitors the instrument functions and also processes, stores and outputs the results of the ICP test as it is performed. The spectrometers use Charge Coupled Device (CCD) technology which allows the instruments to measure the broad spectrum of elements.

ICP testing can be performed on solid and liquid samples, but a solid sample must be converted to liquid form before testing by dissolving the sample in a solvent (typically acid) to produce a solution. The sample solution is introduced into the ICP as a fine aerosol of droplets. The aerosol is produced by a nebulizer which aspirates the sample with high velocity argon to form a fine mist.

The aerosol then passes into a spray chamber where larger droplets are removed. Droplets small enough to be vaporized in the plasma torch pass into the torch body, where the aerosol is mixed with more argon gas. ICP stands for Inductively Coupled Plasma, which is an excitation source generated by directing the energy of a radio frequency generator into a suitable gas. A coupling coil is used to transmit radio frequency to the heated argon gas, producing an argon plasma located in the torch. The hot plasma dries any remaining solvent and causes sample atomization.

The ICP-AES spectrometer detects the atomic emissions produced as light. With ICP Mass Spectrometry, the process uses ionization. The resulting mass of the ions indicates the elements present in the sample.

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“I would like to thank all the LTI people who have consistently come through for me with prompt and dependable results when I send samples for chemistry checks.”

Pete Smith
Coordinator – Chemistry Lab


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