Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 389, Issue 6, pp 1889–1899 | Cite as

Comparative performance study of different sample introduction techniques for rapid and precise selenium isotope ratio determination using multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP/MS)

  • Nagmeddin ElwaerEmail author
  • Holger Hintelmann
Original Paper


The analytical performance of five sample introduction systems, a cross flow nebulizer spray chamber, two different solvent desolvation systems, a multi-mode sample introduction system (MSIS), and a hydride generation (LI2) system were compared for the determination of Se isotope ratio measurements using multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP/MS). The optimal operating parameters for obtaining the highest Se signal-to-noise (S/N) ratios and isotope ratio precision for each sample introduction were determined. The hydride generation (LI2) system was identified as the most suitable sample introduction method yielding maximum sensitivity and precision for Se isotope ratio measurement. It provided five times higher S/N ratios for all Se isotopes compared to the MSIS, 20 times the S/N ratios of both desolvation units, and 100 times the S/N ratios produced by the conventional spray chamber sample introduction method. The internal precision achieved for the 78Se/82Se ratio at 100 ng mL−1 Se with the spray chamber, two desolvation, MSIS, and the LI2 systems coupled to MC-ICP/MS was 150, 125, 114, 13, and 7 ppm, respectively. Instrument mass bias factors (K) were calculated using an exponential law correction function. Among the five studied sample introduction systems the LI2 showed the lowest mass bias of −0.0265 and the desolvation system showed the largest bias with −0.0321.


Illustration of the multi-mode sample introduction system for Se isotope ratiomeasurements


Multi-collector inductively couple plasma mass spectrometry Multi-mode sample introduction Sample desolvation Hydride generation Selenium Isotope ratio 



This research project was funded by an NSERC grant to HH. The author gratefully acknowledges Brian Dimock and Dr. D. Foucher for their helpful assistance and the Water Quality Center at Trent University for providing the necessary instrumentation for this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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