Single Particle ICP-MS (SP-ICP-MS) for the Detection of Metal-Based Nanoparticles in the Environment

A. Hineman, C. Stephan
PerkinElmer Inc, CA

Keywords: sizing, counting, nanoparticle, fate, agglomeration


The use of nanoparticles in consumer products is showing a tremendous increase over the previous years. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies reported that nanotechnology-based consumer products are currently entering the market at a rate of 3 to 4 per week and it is estimated that $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods will contain nanotechnology by 2014[1]. In spite of their beneficial properties, possible risks for humans and the environment need to be thoroughly investigated and multiple key characteristics need to be assessed. Detailed information about the quantity, shape, size, size distribution, structure, composition, surface charge and functionality need to be studied and addressed in order to perform an appropriate and reliable risk assessment. This work presents Single Particle Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (SP-ICP-MS) as a tool in assessing the fate of engineered nanoparticles in environmental sample types. The technique allows for the differentiation between ionic and particulate signals, measures particle sizes, provides size distribution information and assists in monitoring agglomeration.