Atomic spectrometry update: review of advances in atomic spectrometry and related techniques
This review covers developments in ‘Atomic Spectrometry’. It covers atomic emission, absorption, fluorescence and mass spectrometry, but excludes material on speciation and coupled techniques which is included in a separate review. It should be read in conjunction with the previous review1 and the other related reviews in the series.2–6 A critical approach to the selection of material has been adopted, with only novel developments in instrumentation, techniques and methodology being included. One of the major developments which has gained traction over the past few years is the use of elemental tagging for the relative and absolute quantification of biological molecules using ICP-MS. This has advanced to the stage where it is now routinely used as an assay technique. A number of variations on this approach have also been developed in order to improve sensitivity by amplification of the signal, particularly for polynucleotide analysis. Single particle analysis by ICP-MS and ICP-AES has been used to gain some valuable insights into the atomisation and ionisation processes occurring in the ICP, as well as providing a means of quantification of nanoparticles. The dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) has attracted interest as a compact, low-power, microplasma source for MS and AES, following the trend for all things miniature, as well as for direct analysis of liquids. The use of MC-ICP-MS is the driver behind advances in the isotope ratio analysis of natural stable isotopes of metallic elements. Double spiking is an expanding method to neutralise instrumental and procedural mass-dependent fractionation in both stable and radiogenic isotope systems. An overlap is emerging between the measurement of uranium isotope variation in natural systems and the U isotope determination for the nuclear forensic or monitoring/safeguarding fields. Coincident analytical techniques between these fields is likely to produce useful advances in the analysis of nuclear materials.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Atomic Spectrometry Updates