High resolution, fast and more informative LA imaging with the icpTOF
The scan speeds (pixels/s) of commercially available laser ablation (LA) ICP-MS imaging hardware can significantly limit experimental throughput – particularly if multiple elements are to be recorded.
Among other factors, long ablation cell wash-out times and dispersion of laser-generated aerosol force extended delays between the measurement of successive pixels in order to avoid spectral blurring. With this in mind, multiple groups are making efforts to improve hardware for transporting aerosol from the point of ablation to the ICP-MS torch.
The recently developed Dual Concentric Injector (DCI) from ESI and the Aerosol Rapid Introduction System (ARIS) from CETAC Teledyne Technologies enable rapid aerosol washout of <50 ms – increasing achievable imaging speed and sensitivity. The advantages of these high-speed LA sampling systems are fully exploited when combined with the unique capabilities of the TOFWERK icpTOF mass spectrometer, which simultaneously measures all isotopes and records a complete mass spectrum every 30 µs.
This work demonstrates multi-element LA-ICP-MS imaging using the TOFWERK icpTOF coupled with the latest laser ablation imaging hardware from ESI (NRW213 laser / TwoVol2 cell / DCI) and CETAC Teledyne (Analyte G2 laser / HelEx II cell / ARIS). Complete mass spectra were acquired for individual laser pulses at frequencies between 10 and 20 Hz, enabling mulit-element images to be recorded at more than 10x the rate of other commercially available systems. This increased speed translates to greater sample throughput and significantly lower cost per analysis. Further, synchronization of the icpTOF and laser on a single-pixel basis simplifies image reconstruction and provides sharp images with no blurring of pixels.