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Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 392, Issue 7–8, pp 1447–1457 | Cite as

Application of asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation (AsFlFFF) coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) to the quantitative characterization of natural colloids and synthetic nanoparticles

  • M. BoubyEmail author
  • H. GeckeisEmail author
  • F. W. Geyer
Original Paper

Abstract

A straightforward quantification method is presented for the application of asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation (AsFlFFF) combined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) to the characterization of colloid-borne metal ions and nanoparticles. Reproducibility of the size calibration and recovery of elements are examined. Channel flow fluctuations are observed notably after initiation of the fractionation procedure. Their impact on quantification is considered by using 103Rh as internal reference. Intensity ratios measured for various elements and Rh are calculated for each data point. These ratios turned out to be independent of the metal concentration and total sample solution flow introduced into the nebulizer within a range of 0.4–1.2 mL min−1. The method is applied to study the interaction of Eu, U(VI) and Th with a mixture of humic acid and clay colloids and to the characterization of synthetic nanoparticles, namely CdSe/ZnS-MAA (mercaptoacetic acid) core/shell-coated quantum dots (QDs). Information is given not only on inorganic element composition but also on the effective hydrodynamic size under relevant conditions. Detection limits (DLs) are estimated for Ca, Al, Fe, the lanthanide Ce and the natural actinides Th and U in colloid-containing groundwater. For standard crossflow nebulizer, estimated values are 7 × 103, 20, 3 × 102, 0.1, 0.1 and 7 × 10−2 µg L−1, respectively. DLs for Zn and Cd in QD characterization are 28 and 11 µg L−1, respectively.

Figure

Outline of the principle of AsFlFFF/ICPMS and its application to the characterization of colloidal species in groundwater systems

Keywords

Flow field-flow fractionation Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry Radionuclides Colloids Humic acids Nanoparticles Quantum dots Quantification Hydrodynamic size 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Prof. J.-G. Choi, Department of Chemistry, Yonsei University, Seoul, for the provision of quantum dots. M.B. thanks her husband, V. Laliron, for the fruitful discussions throughout this work.

Supplementary material

216_2008_2422_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (236 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 605 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung (INE), Forschungszentrum KarlsruheKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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