The analytical capabilities of high power (2-4 kW) ICPs with argon as inner and intermediate gas and different outer gases (argon, nitrogen, oxygen and air) were studied under optimum and compromise operating conditions. Under the optimum conditions, the lowest detection limits for elements with sensitive atom lines (C, B, Zn) or ion lines (Mg, Mn, Fe, Cr, Ti, V) were achieved with argon as outer gas and an observation height of 13 mm. Under compromise conditions (3 kW, aerosol gas gauge-pressure 3 bar) the lowest detection limits for the atom lines were also found with a pure argon plasma at an observation height of 13 mm. For ion lines, however, the argon/oxygen and argon/nitrogen plasmas and an observation height of 8 mm were better. The detection limits were poorer in the presence of an aluminium matrix; under the optimum operating conditions, the relative increase in detection limit was smaller with the argon/oxygen and argon/air ICPs than with the pure argon or argon/nitrogen ICPs. It was found that the interferences arising from an easily ionizable matrix are lower with a diatomic gas than with argon as outer gas. The interferences when the argon/nitrogen, argon/oxygen and argon/air plasmas are used are similar and practically independent of the nebulizer-gas pressure applied.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry