Determination of low-level (sub-microgram) sulfur concentrations by isotope dilution multi-collector inductively couple plasma mass spectrometry using a 33S spike and internal normalization for mass bias correction.
ABSTRACT The certification of sulfur (S) in Standard Reference Materials™ by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been exclusively performed using isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS). The ID-TIMS measurement method is limited in its capability for low concentration measurements (<1 µg/g) due to the blank associated with the chemical reduction procedure (≈0.2 S µg). Newly developed materials and applications, such as biofuels made from soy and nanomedicine, pose a challenge to the ID-TIMS technique because of their very low concentrations (<1 µg/g) of S. As described here, a measurement technique with low S blanks is essential for low-level S measurements.
An isotope dilution (ID) multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) method combined with an internal normalization approach for mass bias correction has been used to determine low-level S concentrations in synthetically prepared mixtures using a (33)S-enriched spike material. Dilute sulfur solutions (1 µg S/g) were prepared from NIST SRM 3154 (Sulfate Spectrometric Solution) to test the capability of this technique for measuring very low-level S concentrations.
The concentration results for each solution were 0.983 ± 0.004 µg/g (95% CI, n = 2, k = 2), 1.006 ± 0.005 µg/g (95% CI, n = 2, k = 2), and 0.999 ± 0.003 µg/g (95% CI, n = 2, k = 2), in excellent agreement with the gravimetric determination, deviating less than 0.35% and suggesting the technique can yield unbiased and accurate results. The blanks averaged 13 ± 0.0017 ng S (1s).
The data results provide a clear indication that the ID-MC-ICP-MS method for the determination of low-level S concentrations is feasible. The more than one order of magnitude reduction of the blanks suggests that it is a better alternative to the ID-TIMS method for very low S materials such as are encountered in biofuels and some biochemical species. Published 2012. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
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ABSTRACT: An accurate and precise method for the determination of delta34S measurements by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry has been developed. Full uncertainty budgets, taking into consideration all the uncertainties of the measurement process, have been calculated. The technique was evaluated by comparing measured values with a range of isotopically enriched sulfur solutions prepared by gravimetric addition of a 34S spike. The gravimetric and measured results exhibited a correlation of R2 >0.999. Repeat measurements were also made after adding Na (up to 420 microg g(-1)) and Ca (up to 400 microg g(-1)) salts to the sulfur standard. No significant deviations in the delta34S values were observed. The Russell correction expression (Ingle, C.; Sharp, B.; Horstwood, M.; Parrish, R.; Lewis, D. J. J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 2003, 18, 219) was used to correct for mass bias on the 34S/32S isotope amount ratio from the mass bias observed for the 30Si/28Si isotope amount ratio. Consistent compensation for instrumental mass bias was achieved. Resolution of the measured delta34S values was better than 1 per thousand after consideration of all uncertainty components. The technique was evaluated for practical applications by measurement of delta34S for a range of mineral waters by pneumatic nebulization sample introduction and the analysis of genuine and counterfeit pharmaceuticals using both laser ablation sample introduction and liquid chromatography. For the former two cases polyatomic interferences were resolved by operating the MC-ICPMS in medium resolution, while for the chromatographic analyses polyatomic interferences were minimized by the use of a membrane desolvator, allowing the instrument to be operated at a resolution of 400.Analytical Chemistry 09/2006; 78(17):6126-32. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Inductively coupled plasma isotope dilution mass spectrometry (ICP-IDMS) with direct laser-assisted introduction of isotope-diluted samples into the plasma, using a laser ablation system with high ablation rates, was developed for accurate sulfur determinations in different petroleum products such as 'sulfur-free' premium gasoline, diesel fuel, and heating oil. Two certified gas oil reference materials were analyzed for method validation. Two different 34S-enriched spike compounds, namely, elementary sulfur dissolved in xylene and dibenzothiophene in hexane, were synthesized and tested for their usefulness in this isotope dilution technique. The isotope-diluted sample was adsorbed on a filter-paper-like material, which was fixed in a special holder for irradiation by the laser beam. Under these conditions no time-dependent spike/analyte fractionation was only observed for the dibenzothiophene spike during the laser ablation process, which means that the measured 34S/32S isotope ratio of the isotope-diluted sample remained constant-a necessary precondition for accurate results with the isotope dilution technique. A comparison of LA-ICP-IDMS results with the certified values of the gas oil reference materials and with results obtained from ICP-IDMS analyses with wet sample digestion demonstrated the accuracy of the new LA-ICP-IDMS method in the concentration range of 9.2 microg g(-1) ('sulfur-free' premium gasoline) to 10.4 mg g(-1) (gas oil reference material BCR 107). The detection limit for sulfur by LA-ICP-IDMS is 0.04 microg g(-1) and the analysis time is only about 10 min, which therefore also qualifies this method for accurate determinations of low sulfur contents in petroleum products on a routine level.Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 09/2005; 382(8):1808-14. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Inductively coupled plasma isotope-dilution mass spectrometry (ICP-IDMS) with direct injection of isotope-diluted samples into the plasma, using a direct injection high-efficiency nebulizer (DIHEN), was applied for accurate sulfur determinations in sulfur-free premium gasoline, gas oil, diesel fuel, and heating oil. For direct injection a micro-emulsion consisting of the corresponding organic sample and an aqueous 34S-enriched spike solution with additions of tetrahydronaphthalene and Triton X-100, was prepared. The ICP-MS parameters were optimized with respect to high sulfur ion intensities, low mass-bias values, and high precision of 32S/34S ratio measurements. For validation of the DIHEN-ICP-IDMS method two certified gas oil reference materials (BCR 107 and BCR 672) were analyzed. For comparison a wet-chemical ICP-IDMS method was applied with microwave-assisted digestion using decomposition of samples in a closed quartz vessel inserted into a normal microwave system. The results from both ICP-IDMS methods agree well with the certified values of the reference materials and also with each other for analyses of other samples. However, the standard deviation of DIHEN-ICP-IDMS was about a factor of two higher (5-6% RSD at concentration levels above 100 mircog g(-1)) compared with those of wet-chemical ICP-IDMS, mainly due to inhomogeneities of the micro-emulsion, which causes additional plasma instabilities. Detection limits of 4 and 18 microg g(-1) were obtained for ICP-IDMS in connection with microwave-assisted digestion and DIHEN-ICP-IDMS, respectively, with a sulfur background of the used Milli-Q water as the main limiting factor for both methods.Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 10/2004; 380(2):190-7. · 3.66 Impact Factor