An Agilent 8900 ICP-QQQ sitting on a large desk, between a desktop computer set-up and an Agilent SPS 4 autosampler.

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry

The Elemental Analysis Core uses an Agilent™ 8900 triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (ICP-QQQ).

The 8900 has excellent sensitivity with detection limits for most naturally occurring elements in the parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt) ranges. The 8900 also has the capability to run High Matrix Introduction (HMI) samples such as undiluted seawater. We use an Agilent SPS 4 autosampler, which is fully automated, allowing for higher throughput and accuracy.

ICP-MS works by atomizing samples using argon plasma, detecting isotopic elemental concentrations using a hyperbolic quadrupole mass spectrometer, and then comparing sample concentrations to appropriate elemental standards.

While most naturally occurring elements are detectable at low levels, Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Chlorine, and noble gases are not detectable; please refer to Available Services for details on the elements that interest you. 

To learn more about the analysis, please see ICP-MS as a Technique.