High-Speed, Multi-Elemental Imaging for Geological Samples with LA-ICP-TOFMS

In their recent two-part Analytical Chemistry article, “High-Speed, High Resolution, Multi-Elemental LA-ICP-TOFMS Imaging” Alexander Gundlach-Graham, Marcel Burger et al. describe the potential of coupling fast laser ablation sample introduction with ICP-TOFMS for imaging of geological samples.

Part I: Instrumentation and Two-Dimensional Imaging of Geological Samples

Part II. Critical Evaluation of Quantitative Three-dimensional Imaging of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in Geological Samples

Fast Laser Ablation. The tube cell technology used for laser ablation transports ablated sample material to the ICP with minimal aerosol dispersion, significantly reducing washout times.  With an achieved 10-ms washout, the laser can be run at up to 100 Hz without mixing of aerosol from individual laser pulses during transport to the ICP.

High-Speed MS Detection. This rapidly changing signal demands fast detection.  These experiments used a prototype of the TOFWERK icpTOF, which provides simultaneous detection of the full mass spectrum (all mass/charge values) with 1.5 ms time resolution.

The combination of the fast laser ablation cell and the TOF mass analyzer redefines the state-of-the-art for LA-ICP-MS and will open new applications in geology, material and life sciences.

  • High-speed laser ablation sampling allows imaging at ~100x the rate of today’s commercial laser ablation cells
  • Minimal aerosol dispersion during transport translates to improved S/N for individual spots
  • TOFMS records complete mass spectra (all mass/charge values) for individual laser pulses
  • Summation of simultaneously acquired analyte signals and normalization to 100% gives quantitative results