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Metal Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 4/14/2020
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Inductively Coupled Plasma is a Powerful Analytical Tool for Industrial Quality Control Applications, Contamination Analysis and More
Introduction Advanced MicroAnalytical offers inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and other cutting edge material testing services.

Salem, NH, April 14th, 2020

Two popular techniques for analyzing elemental and trace metals in a wide range of matrices include inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), also known as also known as inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES).

These highly sensitive analytical techniques are used by industry to identify and quantify elemental and trace metals, including heavy metals, from various solutions, chemicals, metals, polymers, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, consumer goods and more. The techniques can be used to identify unknowns, impurity and contamination testing, quality control and many other applications.

The following is a brief explanation of each technique:

Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy

ICP-OES is a flame technique used to determine trace elements in prepared samples. Argon gas flows through an ICP torch is ignited and ionized in an electromagnetic field where a high temperature plasma of approximately 7000 K is generated. An appropriately prepared sample is aspirated (i.e. nebulized) continuously into this inductively coupled, argon-plasma discharge where the excitation temperatures can reach approximately 7,000 K. The elements (atoms) of interest reach an excited state and will emit energy in the form of light upon their return to the ground state at wavelengths characteristic of each specific element. The intensity of light emission is measured at each specific wavelength and compared to previously measured intensities of known concentrations of the elements. The concentration of each element is computed by interpolation along the calibration lines established.

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry

ICP-MS utilizes the same flame technique as described in ICP-OES whereby a prepared sample is aspirated continuously into an inductively coupled, argon plasma discharge and ionized at high temperature. Once converted into ions, they are brought into the mass spectrometer where they are focused by electrostatic lenses where they are separated by their mass-to-charge ratio which allows the ICP-MS to supply isotopic information of each element of interest. The quantitative concentration of an element is determined through calibration of the detector with known concentrations of standards on the basis of the separated ions respective mass-to-charge ratio as they are received by the detector with an ion signal that is proportional to the concentration.

The scientists and engineers at Advanced MicroAnalytical offer both ICP-MS and ICP-OES, along with numerous other advanced and highly sensitive techniques in their state-of-the-art testing laboratory. To learn more about Advanced MicroAnalytical’s testing solutions for industry, please visit, call (877) 605-6662 or email

About Advanced MicroAnalytical

At Advanced MicroAnalytical we are dedicated to providing you and your business with critical insight and knowledge that is essential in the modern era. We provide the testing services and analytical tools for comprehensive understanding of your materials and projects. Our services range from advanced microanalysis of nanotechnology to compositional and functional analysis of large manufactured systems.  Our laboratory services span a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, micro-electronics, nanofabrication, aerospace and defense, environmental engineering – as well as many others. Advanced MicroAnalytical is committed to serving as a valued analytical partner to our clients. We offer unmatched analysis, testing, and services to assist you in your business, environmental, and research challenges. Visit our website at
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