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Nanoparticles in Soil

Multi-Element Fingerprinting of Nanoparticles in Soil


Detection of Nanoparticles in Soil

Advances in nanomaterial engineering have enabled exciting new technological and scientific capabilities. However, the safety of nanomaterials is still a topic of debate. Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), which are produced industrially in large volumes, are known to propagate into the environment, where they remain present in low concentrations. The detection of ENPs in environmental samples is one of the biggest challenges for monitoring and assessing the risk of nanomaterials. Soil is a very complex matrix and contains natural particulate matter that is often chemically and physically similar to manufactured particles. Inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry is one of a few techniques offering the extremely low detection limits required for the analysis of ENPs. With its unique capability to simultaneously measure all elements in single particles, the icpTOF constitutes a promising tool for fingerprinting of nanoparticles in environmental samples, further allowing the distinction between engineered and natural nanoparticles. [1]

[1] Praetorius, A.; et al. Single-particle multi-element fingerprinting (spMEF) using inductively-coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ICP-TOFMS) to identify engineered nanoparticles against the elevated natural background in soils. Environmental Science: Nano 2017.  DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00455E


  • Multi-Element Fingerprinting of Nanoparticles in Soil Using the icpTOF

    • All the elements. All the time. The icpTOF always records complete mass spectra, so you never miss an analyte or interference signal and allows to build up elemental fingerprints.
    • High mass resolution. The icpTOF 2R has a mass resolving power of 6000 allowing you to separate interfering ions.
    • High sensitivity. The icpTOF S2 provides highest full mass range sensitivity for precise fingerprinting and accurate quantification of multi-element information in individual particles.
    • Precise isotope ratios. The icpTOF simultaneously measures all isotopes, thus eliminating the susceptibility of your measurements to source and sample fluctuations.  Precision approaches statistical limits.
    • High speed detection. The icpTOF records a complete mass spectrum every 12-50 µs making it the optimum detector for fast transient signals such as individual nanoparticles, fluid inclusions and laser ablation pixels.
    • Collision/reaction cell technology allows interference removal
    • Dedicated workflow for particle analysis in TOFpilot

    Nanoparticles in Soil

    A new method for the analysis of large single-particle mass spectrometry data sets recorded with the icpTOF.  Machine learning is used to group multi-element signals and to distinguish natural from engineered nanoparticles (NPs)


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