Quantitative analysis of trace element abundances in glasses and minerals: a comparison of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, solution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, proton microprobe and electron microprobe data
Many geological, environmental and industrial applications can be enhanced through integrated microbeam and bulk geochemical determinations of major and trace element concentrations. Advantages ofin situ microanalysis include minimal sample preparation, low blanks, information about the spatial distribution of compositional characteristics and the ability to avoid microscopic inclusions of foreign material. In this paper we compare trace element data obtained by laser ablation ICP-MS, solution ICP-MS, electron microprobe analysis and proton microprobe analysis for a variety of silicate glasses and minerals. New determinations for 36 trace elements in BCR-2G, a microbeam glass standard, are presented. Results obtained by the various microbeam and solution methods agree well for concentrations ranging over several orders of magnitude. Replicate analyses of BCR-2G demonstrate an analytical precision of 2–8% relative (1σ) for all elements by laser ablation ICP-MS and ≤3% by solution ICP-MS, except for Li (5%). These data emphasize the utility of laser ablation ICP-MS as a quantitative microbeam technique capable of rapid, precise determinations of sub-ppm trace element abundances in a variety of targets.