Characterization of Complex Inorganic Nanoparticles by FFF-ICP-MS and Single Particle ICP-MS

J.F. Ranville, M. Montano, H. Badiei
Colorado School of Mines, US

Keywords: nanomaterial, ICP-MS, FFF


The recent explosion in nanotechnology over the past two decades has led to the development of increasingly sophisticated analytical techniques to detect and characterize engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). Application of plasma spectrochemistry, specifically quadrapole ICPMS, to nanomaterial characterization has been facilitated by hyphenation with field flow fractionation (FFF-ICPMS) and the development of single particle ICP-MS (spICP-MS). Recently, both methods have seen increasing application to characterization of a variety of nanomaterials such as silver, gold, metal oxide and carbon nanotubes. These techniques provide complimentary data and are particularly powerful when combined by performing spICPMS on FFF fractions. The spICPMS technique can be limited by elevated background arising from dissolved analyte and by high particle concentration, which cause “coincidence.” By employing “fast scan” methods (dwell time of 100 microsecond or less), these interferences can be reduced. Lastly, this “fast scan” approach can be used to investigate isotopic and elemental ratios within a single particle, improving our abilities to characterize complex ENMs.