Determination of trace elements in seawater by ICP-MS

The analysis of trace elements in seawater is one of the most challenging analytical tasks in the field of environmental monitoring – the trace element concentrations are usually quite low, often in the low ng/L range, and the seawater matrix causes interferences from its high dissolved salt content. For ICP-MS, the seawater matrix is challenging physically and chemically. Continuous nebulization leads to salt deposition on the sampler and skimmer cones, resulting in a loss in sensitivity and poor long-term stability. The chemical composition of the sea water matrix causes polyatomic ion interferences and non-spectroscopic interferences, particularly for the determination of the first-row transition elements.

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