Non-destructive sampling method of metals and alloys for laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
A sampling method is described for analysis of metals and alloys using laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA–ICP-MS). The steel rubbing technique involves polishing the surface of the metal component of interest with a diamond lapping film disc and then analysing the material transferred to the disc using LA–ICP-MS. The method has the advantages that it is essentially non-destructive, components can be virtually any shape or size, and sampling is simple and safe and requires no electrical equipment. Furthermore, samples can be taken by non-specialist staff anywhere in the world by following simple instructions and the samples posted back to the laboratory for analysis. Investigations carried out on steel standards have shown that the precision of the technique is generally better than 10%(relative standard deviation), with accuracy within that experimental error. Limits of detection are in the range 1–10 µg g–1.