The optimal amount of isotopic spike solution for ultratrace analysis by isotope dilution mass spectrometry
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HR-ICP-MS) are powerful methods of determining metallic impurities in the low- and sub-ppt level in process media such as ultra-pure water used in semiconductor and wafer manufacturing. By using mass spectrometers for analysis, an isotope dilution analysis (IDMS) is possible. The reproducibility of an IDMS is unmatched. For concentration levels near the instrument detection limit a novel method is reported to find the optimal amount of isotopic spike solution. This optimal value can be derived by the law of propagation of uncertainty combined with the Poisson statistics of the measured number of counts. Generally, an excess of isotopic spike solution should be used to provide results of lowest possible uncertainty. The results are presented in a diagram for easy practical use.