Effects of methane addition to nebulizer gas on polyatomic interferents and ion sensitivity in inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
The addition of methane to nebulizer gas was assessed as a method for the reduction of polyatomic interferents in inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The effects of nebulizer gas flow rate, RF power and methane flow were studied for a range of analytes and polyatomic ions. The analyte sensitivity, especially for Be, Br and I, was enhanced by a factor of 7–12 with methane addition. Polyatomic ions, such as ArCl+, ArO+, ClO+ and ArArH+, were reduced between 61 and 92% when compared to those of an unmodified plasma. Such reduction allowed better quantification limits for V, As, Se, Br and I, as well as 90% BaO+ polyatomic reduction. Finally, the optimized conditions were evaluated in successful recovery tests for As, Se and V in different matrices with high chloride content. The Fe accuracy was evaluated in several reference materials.