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Determination of size and element composition distributions of complex colloids by sedimentation field-flow fractionation—inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

July 16, 1993

Sedimentation field-flow fractionation (SdFFF) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) have been directly combined and the resulting SdFFF-ICP-MS instrument can be used to produce element based size distributions of colloidal samples. Using appropriate tracer elements the size distributions of specific components can be picked out from a complex mixture. Changes in chemical composition of mixtures as a function of particle size can be readily monitored by plotting appropriate element atomic ratio distributions. These applications have been illustrated using data obtained with samples of the clay minerals kaolinite and illite and a natural suspended particulate matter from the Darling River (Australia).