Microchimica Acta

, 186:228 | Cite as

Magnetic ZnFe2O4 nanotubes for dispersive micro solid-phase extraction of trace rare earth elements prior to their determination by ICP-MS

  • Shizhong ChenEmail author
  • Juntao Yan
  • Jianfen Li
  • Dengbo Lu
Original Paper


Magnetic ZnFe2O4 nanotubes (ZFONTs) with numerous pores on their walls were synthesized and characterized. They are shown to be a viable sorbent for dispersive micro-solid phase extraction of the trivalent ions of rare earth elements (REEs), specifically of lanthanum, praseodymium, europium, gadolinium, holmium and ytterbium. The specific surface area of ZFONTs is large (57 m2⋅g−1) and much bigger than that of ZnFeO4 nanoparticles (16 m2⋅g−1). It is shown that REEs are quantitatively retained on ZFONTs in the pH range of 7.0–9.0. The separation of the sorbent from the aqueous phase was achieved by an external magnetic field. Following elution with 0.5 mol⋅L−1 HNO3, REEs were quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The main parameters influencing preconcentration and determination of the REEs were studied. Under optimum conditions, detection limits for REEs range from 0.01 (Ho) to 0.75 (La) pg⋅mL−1. Relative standard deviations are less than 6.5% (for n = 9; at 1.0 ng⋅mL−1). The method was applied to the determination of trace REEs in spiked biological and environmental samples and gave satisfactory results.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of a new adsorbent for dispersive micro-solid phase extraction (DMSPE) combined with ICP-MS. Magnetic ZnFe2O4 nanotubes with many pores on their walls were used for preconcentration and determination of rare earth elements (REEs) in environmental and biological samples.


Water samples Tea leaves Human hair Magnetic separation Scanning electron microscopy X-ray diffractometer 



This work was supported by the Research and Innovation Initiatives of Wuhan Polytechnic University (No. 2018 J04) and Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (Project No. 201503135-22).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2019_3342_MOESM1_ESM.doc (74 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 75 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shizhong Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juntao Yan
    • 2
  • Jianfen Li
    • 2
  • Dengbo Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Food Science and EngineeringWuhan Polytechnic UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Chemical and Environmental EngineeringWuhan Polytechnic UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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