An ICP-MS system will operate and deliver numerical data even if not set up correctly or operating at expected levels. As discussed in a previous blog, , internal standards can be used to compensate for a variety of factors that degrade analytical performance, however, proper instrument set-up is core to data integrity. As a result, tuning of ICP-MS instruments is considered by most users to be a daily, if not more frequent, activity, and a prerequisite for achieving accurate results. Best practices dictate, and many standard methods require, that a sample sequence begin with an optimization block, during which a tuning solution is used to set-up the instrument.
ICP-OES is the go-to-technique across a number of industries, and when configured correctly, today’s instruments yield detection limits of 1 to 10 ppb for the majority of elements. Although a powerful elemental analysis technique, it is in fact a simple comparator, incapable of making absolute measurements.
Generating high quality, accurate laboratory results starts with high quality, accurate standards. If your calibration standards are not correct, the analyses will not be accurate. Here are three common mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them, when preparing aqueous calibration standards for use in AA, ICP, or ICP-MS techniques.