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Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a solution to provide fast and efficient impurity analysis of solid metals, including steels, platinum group metals, gold and other conductive materials.

Combining the Thermo Scientific iCAP 6500 Duo ICP emission spectrometer with a separate sampling and excitation accessory (SSEA), the solution enables close monitoring of all stages of the silver refinery process.

The iCAP 6000 series enables the sensitive, multi-element determination of impurities at ppb and sub-ppb levels in liquid phase matrices and by adding the SSEA accessory, solid phase metallic matrices can also be analysed with only minimal sample preparation.

The analysis of silver for purity and characterisation of impurities is an important example of the application of the combined power offered by the iCAP 6000 series and SSEA accessory.

The capabilities of this system are detailed in an application note entitled ‘Rapid Analysis of Impurities in Silver using a Separate Sampling and Excitation Accessory (SSEA) and Thermo Scientific iCAP 6500 Duo’.

Silver refinery plants receive low assay silver from suppliers and have to analyse the silver, gold and platinum group metals (PGM) content as well as toxic and harmful elements which may interfere with the refinery process.

Impurities present in silver require the reprocessing of contaminated products resulting in metal and cost losses.

As a consequence, the maximum total concentration of impurities allowed in saleable silver bullion is less than 100ppm with the required detection limits for each impurity less than 1ppm in solid.

Extensive purification and sensitive analyses are required in order to ensure optimum product quality.

ICP emission spectrometry has been traditionally used for the analysis of silver but this method is associated with extensive sample preparation.

By utilising an SSEA, sample preparation is greatly reduced, allowing for rapid silver analysis in minutes compared with traditional ICP spectrometry which takes hours with sample digestion.

Thermo Fisher Scientific

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