Student Research Projects

Investigation of sample matrix effects using spinning sampling chamber laser ablation ICPMS

Student Matthew Boyce, ‘13
Department Chemistry
Course Independent Study


Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (LA-ICP-MS) is becoming an increasingly utilized tool in conducting direct elemental analysis of solid samples. While it is gaining popularity in geological, environmental, and forensic analysis, it is still limited on its analytical application. To produce quantitative results current methods require reference materials that are matrix matched to the analyte, so the ablations can be considered comparable. This project seeks to overcome the need for matrix matched reference materials by utilizing a spinning sampling cell. By rotating the sample, multiple materials can be ablated at once, allowing for gas phase mixing and simultaneous ICP-MS analysis. Isotopically enriching one of the ablated materials allows for correction in the ablation differences between the materials’ matrices, and a continuous standard addition can provide an analytical measurement of the elements present in a sample. Should this method work, it will allow current reference materials to apply to a broader range of samples.