Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

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Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry that is highly sensitive and capable of the determination of a range of metals and several non-metals at concentrations below one part in 1012 (part per trillion). It is based on coupling together an inductively coupled plasma as a method of producing ions (ionization) with a mass spectrometer as a method of separating and detecting the ions. ICP-MS is also capable of monitoring isotopic speciation for the ions of choice.

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Inductively coupled plasma

An inductively coupled plasma is a plasma that contains a sufficient concentration of ions and electrons to make the gas electrically conductive. The plasmas used in spectrochemical analysis are essentially electrically neutral, with each positive charge on an ion balanced by a free electron. In these plasmas the positive ions are almost all singly-charged and there are few negative ions, so there are nearly equal amounts of ions and electrons in each unit volume of plasma

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