The icpTOF Delivers All-Element, High Resolution Detection for Nanoparticles and Laser Ablation Imaging

An inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) that simultaneously measures all isotopes at unprecedented speed

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Advantages of the icpTOF

The icpTOF is an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) that couples the source and interface hardware of a Thermo Scientific iCAP RQ to a TOFWERK TOF mass analyzer.  The iCAP RQ hardware provides versatile sample introduction, robust ICP, simple access to cones and lenses and the Q-cell technology. The TOF adds simultaneous all-element detection, linear response and mass resolving power >6000, while maintaining QMS-equivalent sensitivity.   With high-speed mass spectral acquisition and simultaneous analysis of all isotopes, the icpTOF is the ideal ICP-MS detector for multi-element single particle analysis or fast laser ablation imaging.

  • All the elements. All the time. The icpTOF always records complete mass spectra, so you never miss an analyte or interference signal.
  • High mass resolution. The icpTOF 2R has a mass resolving power of 6000 allowing you to separate interfering ions.
  • Precise isotope ratios. The icpTOF simultaneously measures all isotopes, thus eliminating the susceptibility of your measurements to source and sample fluctuations.  Precision approaches statistical limits.
  • High speed detection. The icpTOF records a complete mass spectrum every 30-50 µs making it the optimum detector for fast transient signals such as individual nanoparticles, fluid inclusions and laser ablation pixels.

Webinar: Fundamentals and Applications of the icpTOF

Webinar: Fundamentals and Applications of the icpTOF

Download icpTOF Nanoparticles Brochure
Download icpTOF Laser Ablation Brochure


icpTOF and icpTOF 2R Models

The icpTOF and the icpTOF 2R couple a TOFWERK time-of-flight (TOF) mass analyzer to the source and interface hardware of a Thermo iCAP RQ.   The icpTOF 2R key design modification is a lengthening of the TOF ion drift chamber, which doubles the mass resolving power from >3000 (icpTOF) to >6000 (icpTOF 2R).  The 2R is now the choice for applications that demand separation of difficult isobaric interferences.


Mass Resolving Power

(dm/m at FWHM)


(cps/ppb for 238U)

All Element Analysis


icpTOF 2R600030000Yes
Download Complete icpTOF Specifications Table


Increased Flight Path for Improved Resolving Power

  • Both icpTOF models include the iCAP RQ source and interface (blue) with Q-cell technology for suppression of matrix ions
  • The TOF ion drift chamber (yellow) of the icpTOF 2R is two times longer than that of the icpTOF, leading to a doubling of mass resolving power


 Notch Filter Technology to Attenuate Plasma and Sample Matrix Ions

Signal of a laser ablation experiment on Zircon 'Plesovice' -naturally high in Hafnium content. Signal attenuation of notch filter set around mass 28 -Silicon, 40 -Ar-Plasma, 90 -Zircon and 179 -Hafnium to keep plasma and matrix ion signals <10 mV.



icpTOF Publications


  1. Gundlach-Graham, A., et al., Monte Carlo Simulation of Low-Count Signals in Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry and its Application to Single-Particle Detection. Analytical chemistry, 2018. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.8b01551
  2. Ronzani, A.L., et al., Capabilities of Laser Ablation – ICP-TOF-MS Coupling for Isotopic Analysis of Individual Uranium Micrometric Particles. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2018.  DOI: 10.1039/C8JA00241J 
  3. Käser, D. et al., Depth Profile Analyses with Sub 100-nm Depth Resolution of a Metal Thin Film by Femtosecond – Laser Ablation – Inductively Coupled Plasma – Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy, 2018. In FocusDOI:10.1016/j.sab.2018.08.002
  4. Gundlach-Graham, A., et al., High‐Resolution, Quantitative Element Imaging of an Upper Crust, Low‐Angle Cataclasite (Zuccale Fault, Northern Apennines) by Laser Ablation ICP Time‐of‐Flight Mass Spectrometry. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 2018. In FocusDOI: 10.1111/ggr.12233
  5. Ohata, Masaki, and Hiroyuki Hagino. Examination on simultaneous multi-element isotope ratio measurement by inductively coupled plasma time of flight mass spectrometry. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 2018. In FocusDOI:10.1016/j.ijms.2018.03.003
  6. Gundlach-Graham, Alexander, An Elemental Regeneration, The Analytical Scientist, 2018. URL Link
  7. Naasz, S., et al. Multi-element analysis of single nanoparticles by ICP-MS using quadrupole and time-of-flight technologies, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2018. In FocusDOI:10.1039/C7JA00399D
  8. Gondikas, A., et al., Where is the nano? Analytical approaches for the detection and quantification of TiO 2 engineered nanoparticles in surface waters, Environmental Science: Nano 2018.  In Focus | DOI:10.1039/c7en00952f
  9. Hendriks, L., et al., Analysis of Inorganic Nanoparticles by Single-Particle Inductively Coupled Plasma Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry, CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2018. In FocusDOI: 10.2533/chimia.2018.221


  1. Hagino, Hiroyuki et. al., Application of ICP-TOFMS for Real-Time Measurement of Trace Elements in Automotive Exhaust Particulate Matters from Engine Oil Additives. Transactions of Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, 2017. In FocusDOI: 10.11351/jsaeronbun.48.1341 
  2. Hendriks, L., et al., Characterization of a new ICP-TOFMS instrument with continuous and discrete introduction of solutions, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2017.  In FocusDOI: 10.1039/C6JA00400H
  3. Burger, M., et al., Capabilities of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2017. DOI: 10.1039/C7JA00236J
  4. Van Malderen, S., et al., Three-Dimensional reconstruction of the Tissue-Specific Multielemental Distribution within Ceriodaphnia dubia via Multimodal Registration Using Laser Ablation ICP-Mass Spectrometry and X-ray Spectroscopic Techniques, Analytical Chemistry, 2017. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00111
  5. Praetorius, A., et al., 2017, Single-particle multi-element fingerprinting (spMEF) using inductively-coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ICP-TOFMS) to identify engineered nanoparticles against the elevated natural background in soils, Environmental Science: Nano, 2017.  In Focus |DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00455E
  6. Bussweiler, Y., Olga Borovinskaya, Martin Tanner., Laser Ablation and inductively coupled plasma-time-of-flight mass spectrometry-A powerful combination for high-speed multielemental imaging on the micrometer scale.” Spectroscopy, 2017. In Focus | Link


  1. Hao Wang et al., Simultaneous High Sensitivity Trace-Element and Isotopic Analysis of Gemstones Using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry, The Journal of Gemmology, 35(3), 2016.
  2. Wiedenbeck, M., Time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry: A New Tool for Laser Ablation Analyses, Elements Magazine, Oct. 2016. In Focus | Link
  3. Gundlach-Graham, Alexander, Toward faster and higher resolution LA–ICPMS imaging: on the co-evolution of LA cell design and ICPMS instrumentation, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2016.  In FocusDOI: 10.1007/s00216-015-9251-8


  1. Harlaux, M., et al., Capabilities of sequential and quasi-simultaneous LA-ICPMS for the multi-element analysis of small quantity of liquids (pl to nl): insights from fluid inclusion analysis, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2015.  In FocusDOI: 10.1039/C5JA00111K
  2. Gundlach-Graham, A., et al., High-speed, high-resolution, multi-elemental LA-ICP-TOFMS imaging: Part I instrumentation and two-dimensional imaging of geological samples, Analytical Chemistry, 2015. In FocusDOI:10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01196
  3. Burger, M., et al., High-speed, high-resolution, multi-elemental LA-ICP-TOFMS imaging: Part II. Critical evaluation of quantitative three-dimensional imaging of major, minor and trace elements in geological samples,  Analytical Chemistry, 2015. In FocusDOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01977


  1. Borovinskaya, O., et al., Simultaneous Mass Quantification of Nanoparticles of Different Composition in a Mixture by Microdroplet Generator-ICPTOFMS,  Analytical Chemistry, 2014.  In FocusDOI: 10.1021/ac501150c
  2. Borovinskaya, O., et al., Diffusion- and velocity-driven spatial separation of analytes from single droplets entering an ICP off-axis,  J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014. DOI: 10.1039/c3ja50307k


  1. Neubauer, Uta, Wie Forscher Nanopartikel in der Umwelt nachweisen, NZZ, 2013
  2. Borovinskaya, O., et al., A prototype of a new inductively coupled plasma timeof-flight mass spectrometer providing temporally resolved, multi-element detection of short signals generated by single particles and droplets, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013. DOI: 10.1039/C2JA30227F


  1. Tanner, Martin and D. Günther, A new ICP–TOFMS. Measurement and readout of mass spectra with 30 µs time resolution, applied to in-torch LA–ICP–MS,  Anal Bioanal Chem, 2008. DOI: 10.1007/s00216-008-1869-3

Application Notes

Conference Presentations

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Background Knowledge About icpTOF