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Determination of the rare-earth elements in geological materials by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

January 1, 1987

A method of analysis of geological materials for the determination of the rare-earth elements using the Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric technique (ICP-MS) has been developed. Instrumental parameters and factors affecting analytical results have been first studied and then optimized. Samples are analyzed directly following an acid digestion, without the need for separation or preconcentration with limits of detection of 2-11 ng/g, precision of ?? 2.5% relative standard deviation, and accuracy comparable to inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry and instrumental neutron activation analysis. A commercially available ICP-MS instrument is used with modifications to the sample introduction system, torch, and sampler orifice to reduce the effects of high salt content of sample solutions prepared from geologic materials. Corrections for isobaric interferences from oxide ions and other diatomic and triatomic ions are made mathematically. Special internal standard procedures are used to compensate for drift in metahmetal oxide ratios and sensitivity. Reference standard values are used to verify the accuracy and utility of the method.