Calibration standards for LA-ICP-MS
The principle behind LA-ICP-MS (Laser Ablation - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry) involves a laser beam removing (ablating) material from a sample and analysing its chemical composition in a mass spectrometer.
The diameter of the laser beam is typically between 10-100 µm (in comparison, the average diameter of human hair is 50-100 µm). This complicates finding a suitable reference material. Commonly used reference materials for LA-ICP-MS are natural or synthetic glasses. These glasses are not matrix-matched in regard to natural samples. This can cause inaccurate results. Unfortunately, natural samples are seldom homogeneous and can rarely be used as reference materials.
By taking a natural mineral and processing it, we are able to re-homogenise it, making it suitable as an reference material for LA-ICP-MS.
Fig. 2 Line of LA-ICP-MS spot analyses along an apatite nano-pellet showing the homogenised distribution of REE.
The images show a comparison of a line of LA-ICP-MS analyses along a natural crystal (apatite) and a nano-pellet made from the same batch of crystals. The superior homogeneity of the nano-pellet is evident.
Check out the perfect standards for LA-ICP-MS