ICP-MS Testing

Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS Testing)

Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), measures elements on the basis of their mass to charge ratio.  Galbraith Laboratories commonly employs ICP-MS to measure metallic elements, metalloids and some non-metal elements (such as bromine and iodine) in a variety of sample matrices.


Each successful analysis begins by adequately digesting the sample for analysis.  The final outcome of each preparation is to afford a homogenous solution of the analyte in the analysis solvent.  In most cases, the analysis solvent is water that is stabilized with acid. For more information on our preparation methods for metals analysis, please click here.


Sample solutions are introduced into the instrument by way of a peristaltic pump.  The solution is nebulized into an aerosol that is transported to a plasma torch.  Metal ions in the sample solution are subjected to intense heat in a radio-frequency inductively coupled argon plasma.  The ions are transported from the plasma through a vacuum interface into a quadrupole where they are separated on the basis of their mass to charge ratio (m/z).  Metal ion concentrations of unknown samples are determined by comparison to an external calibration of the instrument.


Galbraith’s general method was written from nationally accepted methods, such as EPA SW846 6020.  It also meets the general guidance of USP <730>.  Click below to view a copy of the method summary:

ME-30 Elements in Digestates by ICP MS

For information on Galbraith’s USP <232> and <233> services, click here.

Quantitation Limit

Unless otherwise evaluated, the quantitation limit (QL) depends on the concentration of the lowest calibration standard used to calibrate the instrument.  Results that read below the QL are reported as less than values, i.e <50 ppb.


Results are reported using the mass of sample originally taken for the analysis.  Typical reporting units are ppm, ppb, mg/L, or µg/L.  Other units may be reported.  Contact a member of our Technical Team for more information.

Regulated Submissions

The general methodology is suitable for the analysis of regulated samples.  The method is considered validated to a reference substance, but not to the sample matrix unless a formal validation is conducted.  Click here to see more information on Method Validation.