Counting and Sizing Nanoparticles using Single Particle ICP-MS

C. Stephan, S. Smith

Keywords: nanoparticle sizing & counting, single particle ICP-MS


Single Particle ICP-MS is a new advancement in ICP-MS devoted to the analysis of individual particles ranging from single digit nm up to a few ┬Ám. It is element specific, that allows the differentiation between ionic (M+) and particulate signals (particles) in a wide variety of matrices without any prior separation. In one sample analysis, SP-ICP-MS provides ionic and particle concentration, particle composition, size and size distribution. In the following paper, I share my experience working with SP-ICP-MS. I detail the various parameters to consider when analyzing for particles in various matrices from sample flow rate and transport efficiency to the more advanced parameters such dwell time and Dynamic Reaction Cell (DRC) for the analysis of Iron and silicon dioxide particles. Factors affecting particle size detection limit, how small of a particle can we detect? How large of a particle can we measure? What is the lowest particle number that we could realistically work with? What is the particle size resolution of the technique? What is the lowest mass base concentration that we can achieve, could it be sub-ppq?