Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 3, pp 919–929 | Cite as

Interference-free determination of ultra-trace concentrations of arsenic and selenium using methyl fluoride as a reaction gas in ICP–MS/MS

  • Eduardo Bolea-Fernandez
  • Lieve Balcaen
  • Martín Resano
  • Frank Vanhaecke
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
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Interference-free conditions, allowing straightforward As and Se determination, can be obtained by using CH3F (a mixture of 10 % CH3F and 90 % He) as a reaction gas in tandem ICP–mass spectrometry (ICP–MS/MS). Both target elements react via CH3F addition and subsequent HF elimination, rendering AsCH2+ and SeCH2+ the respective favored reaction product ions. Instrumental limits of detection were 0.2 ng L−1 for As and below 10 ng L−1 for Se, using either 77Se, 78Se, or 80Se. Neither addition of carbon to the solutions, nor admixing of additional He into the octopole reaction cell resulted in a further improvement of the LoDs, despite the increase in analyte signal intensity. By using synthetic matrices, containing elements giving rise to ions interfering at either the original mass-to-charge ratios or those of the reaction products, absence of spectral overlap could be demonstrated. This conclusion was corroborated by successful As and Se determination in a collection of reference materials from plant, animal, or environmental origin, displaying a considerable range of As and Se contents. These accurate results were obtained via external calibration using Te as an internal standard. The high efficiency reaction between As and CH3F and the possibility to use the major isotope of Se provides enhanced detection power versus other techniques, such as sector-field ICP–mass spectrometry, while the possibility to monitor at least three Se isotopes interference-free also enables isotopic analysis.

Graphical abstract


Tandem ICP-mass spectrometry ICP-MS/MS Arsenic and selenium Chemical resolution Spectral interference 

Supplementary material

216_2014_8195_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (23 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Bolea-Fernandez
    • 1
  • Lieve Balcaen
    • 1
  • Martín Resano
    • 2
  • Frank Vanhaecke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Analytical ChemistryGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Analytical Chemistry, Aragón Institute of Engineering Research (I3A)University of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

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