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Investigation of a Combined Microdroplet Generator and Pneumatic Nebulization System for Quantitative Determination of Metal-Containing Nanoparticles Using ICPMS

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2015, 00:00 by Benita Ramkorun-Schmidt, Spiros A. Pergantis, Diego Esteban-Fernández, Norbert Jakubowski, Detlef Günther
In this work, a routinely applicable approach is presented to characterize metal NPs. Individual droplets generated from a microdroplet generator (MDG) were merged into an aerosol generated by a pneumatic nebulizer (PN) and introduced into an ICPMS. The MDG offers high transport efficiency of individual and discrete droplets and was therefore used to establish a calibration function for mass quantification of NPs which were introduced through the PN following the single particle procedure as described elsewhere. The major advantages of such a combined configuration include fast processing of large sample volumes, fast exchanges of different sample matrixes, and the calibration of the NP signal using traceable elemental standards, thus avoiding the need to use NP reference materials or other, not always thoroughly characterized, commercially available NPs. The transport efficiency of the sample introduction is calculated based on the fact that 100% of the calibrant reaches the plasma through the MDG, whereas for the PN a NP suspension containing a known number concentration is used. Alternatively, bulk analysis of the NP material allows transport efficiency determination without any additional information from reference NPs. With this method, we could determine the size of standard silver NPs at 60.4 ± 1.0 nm and 80.0 ± 1.4 nm, respectively, which agrees with the size ranges given by the supplier (60.8 ± 6.6 nm and 79.8 ± 5.4 nm). Furthermore, we were also able to determine the NPs number concentration of the sample (Ag/Au) with a deviation of 3.2% the expected value.