Inductively Coupled Plasma Optically Emitting Spectra (ICP-OES), sometimes called Atomic Emission Spectra (ICP-AES), is a powerful tool for determining the elemental composition of materials dissolved in solution. In this process a solution containing the materials that are to be analyzed is introduced into a high energy argon plasma. Materials entering this high energy region are excited and the spectral emissions that result are measured by a spectrometer set to a series of wavelengths specific to the elements being measured.
This technique is preferred by those researchers measuring the concentration of metals, transition metal metalloids and many non-metals in their samples.
Both the Center's Perkin Elmer Optima 2000DV and Perkin Elmer Optima 8000 can perform multiple elemental analyses, quickly, and with a high rate of efficiency and reproducibility. Both instruments have axial viewing optics coupled with radially viewing optics to ensure that higher concentration samples can be measured along with trace levels of elements.
Functional ranges are both element and matrix dependent, but in general the system can measure down to the tens of ppb (µg/L) up to the hundreds of ppm (mg/L). Samples that are true trace level, ppt (pg/L) will generally need to be run on the Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. Materials are generally prepared using a 2-5% Nitric Acid and a small amount of material to be tested. In cases where researchers have to digest their samples, either the product of the digestion can be directly sampled or a further dilution in nitric acid can be measuring using only a small aliquot of the digest product.
Elements that are most often measured on CEST ICP-OES are U, Na, Fe, Cd, Mg, Mn, P, Pb, and Zn, but a full list of each systems capability is available upon request.