Elemental fractionation in laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

H. P. Longerich*, D. Günther, S. E. Jackson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    205 Citations (Scopus)


    The major challenge to the use of laser ablation sample introduction, combined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, is the problem of calibration. In the geological analysis of minerals, calibration is complicated by the extraordinarily wide variety of sample matrices which may be encountered. While there is a lack of mineral standards with well characterized concentrations near 1 μg/g, the NIST glass reference materials (SRM 610-617) have been demonstrated to be very useful for the analysis of a wide variety of lithophile elements in silicate samples. An internal reference element, for which the concentration is known in the sample, has been widely used to make corrections for the multiplicative effects of volume (or weight) of the sample ablated, instrument drift, and matrix effects. This procedure works extremely well where elements being determined and the internal reference element being used share similar ablation behaviours; i.e., they do not fractionate progressively during the ablation and transport process. In this study, it is demonstrated that, in terms of ablation behaviour, elements fall into several distinct clusters and that the elements within these clusters correlate well with each other during a period of ablation. Thus, elements within a cluster can be determined using an internal reference element from within the same cluster. While a combination of periodic varying properties typifies the clusters, the geochemical classification of elements into lithophile (silicate loving), and chalcophile (sulphide loving) appears to offer the best characterization of the major groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)538-542
    Number of pages5
    JournalFresenius' journal of analytical chemistry
    Issue number5-6
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    Dive into the research topics of 'Elemental fractionation in laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this