- Is your instrument optimized?
In a recent blog we explored the importance of instrument optimization for ICP-OES and ICP-MS, but all instruments should be frequently checked to confirm they are operating as expected. Preventive maintenance and appropriate start up and shut down SOPs are key to the integrity of analysis.
- How should you calibrate your instrument?
If you are following a standard method, calibration points might be recommended, however, you must also consider the expected levels of your specific samples when designing your calibration curve. Other best practices to consider include:
- Don’t bracket your calibration curve too tightly around your samples expected levels
- Match the matrix of your calibration standards to that of your samples to improve accuracy
- Include a check standard in your run schedule
It is also important to be sure you have a high-quality calibration blank! Purchasing a CRM with a certificate of analysis that includes a trace scan can give you confidence in your blank.
- What is the best way to prepare your samples?
Top goals of sample preparation include bringing the sample to a suitable form for your instrument/ technique, ensuring sample homogeneity, and to manage potential interference's resultant from the sample’s original form. Equally important is considering the quantity sample preparations and rate of throughput required for your lab. While there are many methods for sample analysis, some preparation techniques offer additional advantages in terms of speed and number of samples that can be prepared at once.
How do you prepare your instrument and samples for analysis? Share your best practices in the comments!