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Thermo Fisher Scientific has released an application note that describes how to use the Thermo Scientific Element GD glow discharge mass spectrometer to characterise high-purity aluminium.

The Element GD precisely determines ultra-trace impurities in solid samples with minimal sample preparation, which lowers the risk of contamination.

The new application note, entitled ‘High Purity Aluminium Analysis by Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry’, is available to download free of charge via the company’s website.

Aluminium of 5N or 6N grade, especially with very low alpha emitters (U, Th) content, is widely used in speciality electronic and chemical applications.

Performing the analytical characterisation of 5N or higher aluminium is challenging, however, since very low detection limits are required for the majority of elements.

Compared with other metals, aluminium requires a high discharge current to achieve matrix signals on the order of 1,010cps in medium resolution.

Such a level is necessary to achieve sub-parts-per-billion detection limits during analyses.

The Thermo Scientific Element GD effectively addresses these challenges, enabling analysts to routinely achieve ultra-low detection limits directly in aluminium, even below parts per billion.

Featuring a high-powered DC glow discharge source, the system is designed to ensure stable discharge conditions throughout the analytical cycle.

Experimental results demonstrate that, owing to its extreme sensitivity, the Thermo Scientific Element GD can accurately specify impurities in aluminium at concentrations of less than 1ppb.

Equipped with a fast-flow DC glow discharge source, the system provides high sputter rates and sensitivity.

In addition, the sector field mass analyser used in the system provides high mass accuracy and precision, providing the efficient measurement of the elements of interest.

Another key advantage is that sample throughput is approximately three samples per hour for the determination of 70 elements at concentrations close to the detection limit.

This throughput is about five times faster than that achieved with previously available GD-MS instrumentation.

The new application note provides a detailed overview of the analytical process followed in order to characterise aluminium using the Element GD, including sample preparation, instrument settings, calibration conditions and method development.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Mass Spectrometry)

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