Microwave Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry – Applications and Benefits

Topics Covered

Introduction
Key Features of Agilent 4200 MP-AES
Advantages of Agilent 4200 MP-AES
     Lowest Cost of Ownership
     Improved Laboratory Safety
     High performance for difficult samples
     User-Friendly Operation
     Application-Specific Software
Common Applications for Agilent 4200 MP-AES
     Food and Agriculture
     Geochemical
     Chemical and Petrochemical
Environmental
About Agilent Technologies

Introduction

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES (Figure 1) is a cost-efficient solution with higher sensitivity and safer operation, as no combustible gases are used. It is much faster than flame Atomic Absorption (AA), with detection limits down to sub ppb levels. Additionally, the next generation Agilent 4200 MP-AES operates on air.

Figure 1. The Agilent 4200 MP-AES

Key Features of Agilent 4200 MP-AES

A powerful and reliable industrial magnetron is at the heart of the Agilent 4200 MP-AES. The plasma generation system produces powerful plasma, using the magnetic field to integrate the microwave energy into the plasma. This expands the application range for users. The tuned waveguide and the mass flow control on the nebulizer gas allow for a wide range of applications.

Solid state CCD detector performs simultaneous background or interference correction. The standard sample introduction components are capable of handling most of the samples, ranging from acidic aqueous solutions to organics.

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES performs rapid and efficient analysis of organic samples using the external gas control module (EGCM), which introduces air into the plasma. This capability reduces background and avoids carbon buildup. With an optional optics purge and the unique wavelength drive, the Agilent 4200 MP-AES is ideal for repeatable analysis in adverse on-site laboratory conditions.

Advantages of Agilent 4200 MP-AES

The advantages of the Agilent 4200 MP-AES are discussed in this section.

Lowest Cost of Ownership

Since the Agilent 4200 MP-AES operates on air, it does not require the continuous supply of flammable or expensive gases. This results in a significant reduction in operating costs. The Agilent 4107 Nitrogen Generator provides nitrogen supply for plasma operation by extracting the gas from the air. It does not require hollow cathode lamps and deuterium lamps for burner blockage and background correction, eliminates standby operating costs, and increases sample throughput with reliable, safe and unattended multi-element analysis. Figure 2 shows the MP-AES cost savings versus flame AA.

Figure 2. MP-AES cost savings versus flame AA

Improved Laboratory Safety

Besides avoiding the use of flammable and oxidizing gases, the Agilent 4200 MP-AES does not require the plumbing of multiple gases into the lab, or the manual transporting and handling of gas cylinders. This makes the spectrometer suitable for analysis in remote locations, such as environmental monitoring stations and mining sites. Moreover, the spectrometer has zero fuel-based carbon emissions.

High performance for difficult samples

The powerful, magnetically excited microwave plasma source of the Agilent 4200 MP-AES facilitates handling difficult matrices such as foods, fertilizers, geochemical samples, organic solvents and fuels (Figure 3). The analysis speed, detection limits, linear dynamic range, and sensitivity of the Agilent 4200 MP-AES is much better than flame AA. The unique torch design is positioned vertically to deliver optimum performance with difficult samples. The end-on axial viewing provides unprecedented detection limits.

Figure 3. Accurate and precise gold analysis

User-Friendly Operation

User-friendly, application-specific software applets automatically load a prescribed method, so that the analysis can be started immediately without any method development or alignment and extensive training. The reliable torch loader facilitates automatic alignment of the torch, and connection of gases, for fast start-up and reproducible performance. The sample introduction components are easily accessible, thus facilitating routine maintenance and troubleshooting and reducing downtime.

Application-Specific Software

The Agilent MP Expert software features a familiar worksheet interface, software applets including prescribed method templates, and automated method development. These features save considerable time for users. The comprehensive spectral library puts emphasis on potential interference for each wavelength selected.

The well characterized Inter Element Correction (IEC) technique established on ICP-OES, or the robust Fast Linear Interference Correction (FLIC) method, are used to correct spectral interference. Results can be easily read on screen, and large format number results for the current sample facilitates tracking. Previously stored data can be recalled and reviewed at any time even during analysis. It is easier to incorporate quality control standards to collaborate results during analysis. The application-specific software simplifies the workflow (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Three steps to analysis

Common Applications for Agilent 4200 MP-AES

The common applications of the Agilent 4200 MP-AES are discussed in this section.

Food and Agriculture

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES is used to analyze:

  • Major elements in foods, beverages and agricultural samples
  • Fertilizers
  • Metals in agricultural soil samples
  • Metals in soil extracts
  • Cations in soils

Geochemical

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES is used to analyze:

  • Geochem samples in aqua regia digests
  • Various elements in plating solutions
  • Trace level gold in cyanide leach
  • Trace elements in geological samples
  • Platinum group elements in ore grade material
  • High purity gold

Chemical and Petrochemical

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES is used in the analysis of:

  • Wear metal contaminants in used oils
  • Additives in lubricating oils
  • Petroleum, diesel and biodiesel fuel
  • Coolants
  • Raw chemicals for contaminant levels
  • Major elements in polymers

Environmental

The Agilent 4200 MP-AES has found use in the analysis of:

  • Hg, Pb, Cd and Cr in electronics and plastics (for WEEE/RoHs compliance)
  • As, Sb and Se in sediments and waste
  • Plant waste products
  • Waste waters, sediments and soils
  • Heavy metals in soils

About Agilent Technologies

As the world's premier measurement company, Agilent is committed to providing innovative measurement solutions that enable our customers and partners-- the leaders in their fields -- to deliver products and services that make a measurable difference in the lives of people everywhere. With a singular focus on measurement, Agilent helps:

  • Advance next-generation wireless communications
  • Aid the military to become more flexible, mobile and reliable
  • Enable non-destructive subsurface electronic testing of semiconductor materials
  • Analyze the causes and cures for disease
  • Make the world more safe and secure from crime and drugs
  • Aid in the discovery and quality of medicines
  • Keep our air, water, soil and food clean and safe

 

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Agilent Technologies.

For more information on this source, please visit Agilent Technologies.

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