Analyzing Metals with the ICP-OES : ETS Blog
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Energy Technical Services, LLC
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Analyzing Metals with the ICP-OES

by Energy Technical Services on 11/30/15

ETS has recently acquired an ICP-OES Spectrometer. What does this mean? While ICP-OES is actually short for an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy, in short it means that ETS has improved its method for detecting trace metals for the environmental world.

ETS Environemental Lab Manager, Chase Garner

The ICP-OES is ultra-sensitive to the analysis of trace metals, which means it has the capability to read detection limits at extremely low levels.  For example, our ICP-OES can read any metal it analyzes at levels of 0.005 ppm, or 5 parts per billion.  These amounts are extremely small, but some materials can be dangerous even at such low levels, which is why environmental agencies want to test for certain substances in water. 

According the EPA, the average American residence uses 100 gallons per day. By contrast, residents of sub-Saharan Africa use only 2-5 gallons of water per day.^1 

The ICP-OES can also read interferences from other metals in the axial and radial views.  This means the ICP-OES can read through the plasma it uses for detection through two different views, vertical and horizontal.  This gives a more accurate result.  

Although it is hard to capture on a photograph, above is the plasma that ICP-OES uses to analyze metals.  

Another aspect of the ICP-OES is that it leaves minimal room for human error once the analysis starts. Everything about the analysis, excluding the prep and digestion, is computerized.   

This is the autosampler that the ICP-OES uses. 

The ICP-OES comes with state-of-the-art software.  ETS employees spent a week training and preparing to run the ICP-OES software, and know everything inside and out about the ICP-OES. Quality assurance and quality Control are made simple with the ICP-OES.  

An example showing the software that the ICP-OES uses.  The above photo shows a sample that has a spike in a certain metal.   

ETS is here to serve your environmental needs.  Please give us a call if you have any questions about the ICP-OES for metals analysis, or any other analytical issues.


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