Dilute or Die - How to Handle High Matrix Samples by ICP-MS

Poster Presentation

Prepared by J. Schmelzel1, M. Rury1, M. Manecki2, D. Kutscher2, S. Ducos2
1 - Thermo Fisher Scientific, 81 Wyman St, Waltham, MA, 02454, United States
2 - Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hanna-Kunath-Straße 11, Bremen, 28199, Germany

Contact Information: john.schmelzel@thermofisher.com; 408-965-6232


Dealing with high matrix samples can be a challenge in ICP-MS. Matrix effects can significantly affect the accuracy and sensitivity of the internal standard and the analytes of interest. The most common approach used to bypass most kinds of issues related to high matrix loading is sample dilution. Since a dilution of the sample matrix also leads to a dilution of the analytes in the sample, the dilution factor needs to be chosen carefully. Quadrupole based ICP-MS (Q-ICP- MS) is ideally suited for such scenarios, due to its high sensitivity and low detection limits.

While routine methods like EPA Methods 200.8 and 6020 are performed in many laboratories, skilled technicians are still required to set-up and prepare the day’s analysis, as well as actively monitor the results and perform further sample manipulation as required throughout the analytical run. Measurements which have not passed certain criteria, such as internal standard recovery, analyte concentration range, or stability, would need to be repeated manually. A combination of an ICP-MS together with an automated dilution system is therefore ideal to analyse heavy matrix samples, even in high-throughput laboratories. Intelligent autodilution further adds to the laboratory’s productivity by eliminating errors and the risk of contamination during preparation.

This paper presents a fully automated, intelligent workflow solution for measuring drinking water samples in compliance with EPA Method 200.8. Results will be collected for samples prepared via manual dilution for comparative purposes.