Nanoparticle Analysis: An Upcoming Challenge for Environmental Analysis

Oral Presentation

Prepared by J. Schmelzel1, D. Kutscher2, J. Wills2, S. McSheehy-Ducos2, M. Rury3
1 - Thermo Fisher Scientific, 355 River Oaks Parkway, San Jose, CA, 95134, United States
2 - Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hanna-Kunath-Straße 11, Bremen, 28199, Germany
3 - Thermo Fisher Scientific, 81 Wyman St, Waltham, MA, 02454, United States

Contact Information:; 408-965-6232


The widespread use of nanomaterials in consumer products such as toothpaste, sunscreen, and food products is causing nanoparticle analysis to become a routine application in environmental and food safety labs. Among the available methods for nanoparticle characterization, single particle ICP-MS (spICP-MS) has grown in popularity in recent years. Single particle analysis allows for characterization of nanoparticles in solution without prior separation. Utilizing this approach, single particle analysis produces transient mass spectrum signals. The magnitude and frequency of the transient signals produced are directly proportional to the size and concentration of nanoparticles, respectively. The ability to rapidly determine the average particle size and nanoparticle concentration in a given sample is an advantage compared to other established techniques such as dynamic light scattering (DLS) or microscopy (e.g. TEM).

This presentation will demonstrate a new software extension which facilitates single particle ICP-MS analysis with minimal method development. The new data evaluation method supports the automated determination of key input parameters such as detection sensitivity and transport efficiency. Furthermore, it provides a statistical evaluation of all sample runs to recognize potential artifacts that may affect results.