Aqueous Geochemistry ICP-OES

Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES)

The ICP-OES is the Agilent 710 simultaneous spectrometer. It utilizes emission spectrometry and is a multi-element analytical technique allowing the detection of most elements at concentrations ranging from a few ppb to hundreds of ppm. This is a versatile technique; due to its wide concentration ranged covered it is widely used for Environmental and Geological samples, both for major and trace elements. The spectrometer is coupled to an auto-sampler for large sample throughput.

Analytical capabilities

  • Analysis of almost all the chemical elements (those with sufficient sensitive emission lines with the range 190-782 nm).
  • Typical precision values below ± 0.5% (depending on concentration).
  • Detection limits down to ppb concentration for certain elements.

Limitations: currently this technique can only be used for solutions and any solids such as rocks, soils, and biological materials need to be digested prior to analysis.

Sample requirements

  • The sample for ICP-OES must be in solution form, ideally 1% nitric acid and free from suspended solids. High total dissolved solids may interfere with the sample introduction/nebulization process.
  • The quantity of sample required for analysis will depend on the number of elements. Normally the minimum volume is 4 to 5 mls.‌


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