Multi-Element Analysis of Gem Minerals Using the icpTOF

Multi-Element Analysis of Minerals

Hao A. O. Wang, Michael S. Krzemnicki
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2021
DOI: 10.1039/d0ja00484g

Multi-Element Analysis of Minerals Using Laser Ablation Inductively Couple Plasma Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry and Geochemical Data Visualization Using T-Distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding: Case Study on Emeralds From Various Deposits.

Feature Image: Elemental fingerprinting of emeralds from different locations around the world

In this work, Wang and Krzemnicki from the Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) describe a method for the multi-element analysis of gem minerals (here, emeralds) using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-TOFMS) with the icpTOF R.

The advantage of this technique is that the entire mass spectrum is obtained simultaneously allowing for a “first measure, then determine” approach. Moreover, due to the high mass resolving power of the icpTOF R (3000 Th/Th at FWHM) some common interferences can be corrected. Using innovative statistical methods to evaluate the extensive datasets, the authors show that characteristic elemental fingerprints can be related to the geological setting, or provenance, of a gemstone. The authors conclude that this methodology may be applied to other scientific fields, including geology, archaeology, forensics, and biology. 

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