Towards the next generation of plasma source mass spectrometers. Plenary lecture
In this paper, the present state of plasma source mass spectrometry is reviewed, with special emphasis placed on the strengths and weaknesses of currently available systems. Attention is then directed towards basic and applied studies that are underway throughout the world to reduce the remaining shortcomings of the technique. Such efforts include the design and evaluation of novel sources and mass spectrometers, modifications in ionoptic and interface systems, attempts to understand and overcome isobaric interferences (spectral overlaps from oxides and other polyatomic species), techniques for stabilizing plasma sources and mass spectrometers in an effort to reduce instrumental drift, and methods for improving precision both in routine analysis and isotope determination situations. It is argued that plasma source mass spectrometers of the future might be simpler yet more powerful than those now in use. Vacuum pump requirements might be lessened, tandem sources will offer new flexibility and capability and simultaneously reading mass spectrometers will speed analyses, make interfacing to chromatography devices more practicable and improve precision.