Detection of short transient signals with ICP-MS requires fast hard and software especially when multielement information is required. Time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS) technology is especially suited for such signals due to simultaneous measurement of entire mass spectra in short time intervals. Here we present three examples of application where the acquisition of short transient signals together with advanced triggering options leads to improved data quality.
Single Particle ICP-MS has become an important tool for detection and characterization of micro- and nanoparticles in the environment. With TOFMS it is possible to get multi-element information from individual particles even though the corresponding signals last less than a millisecond.
LA-ICP-MS trace element imaging at the micrometer-scale has become an important tool in geological, biological, and medical studies. Recent advances in laser ablation setups, including fast, washout ablation cells have paved the way for rapid, high-resolution imaging. These faster laser sampling methods are especially efficient with fast multi-element analyzers, such as TOFMS, that allow for the detection of single laser pulses while recording the full mass spectrum simultaneously.
Finally LA-ICP-MS can also serve to detect individual particles in tissue thin sections or single cells. Provided a fast laser ablation technology and a high correlation between individual analytes and laser position the location of particles can be traced together with their composition.