Air analysis includes the real-time measurement of gas and aerosol components in the atmosphere, in indoor work or living environments, and in closed manufacturing spaces. Such measurements may be related to climate change research, air quality, quality control, or process monitoring. At trace concentration levels, the chemical composition of air is complex and compounds of interest may be undergoing rapid changes in concentration related to, for instance, dynamic changes in their source. Because they are capable of resolving and simultaneously monitoring large numbers of compounds at sub ppb levels with extremely high time resolution, our TOFs are frequently used for online air measurements.
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 soil samples.
Chemical analysis of environmental, drinking, and industrial waters is the basis for assessment of water quality and pollution levels, hydrological studies, and monitoring of industrial processes. Inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is routinely applied for elemental analysis of water. Along with dissolved metal ions, the more challenging analysis of particulate matter of natural and anthropogenic origin is also crucial. Single particle ICP-MS enables the elemental analysis of individual particles with very low concentration detection limits, making it an attractive method for monitoring and assessing the risk of manufactured nanomaterials in environmental waters. With its unique capability to simultaneously measure all elements in single particles, the icpTOF constitutes a promising tool for quantification and fingerprinting of nanoparticles in liquid samples.