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Thermo Scientific Develops New Method for High Purity Aluminum Analysis Using Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., has announced the availability of a new application note that describes how to use the unique capabilities of the Thermo Scientific ELEMENT GD glow discharge mass spectrometer to accurately and efficiently characterize high purity aluminum. The ELEMENT GD is a powerful and sensitive tool that 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 Aluminum Analysis by Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry” is available to download free-of-charge via http://www.thermoscientific.com/aluminium.

Aluminum of 5N or 6N grade, especially with very low alpha emitters (U, Th) content, is widely used in specialty electronic and chemical applications. Performing analytical characterization of 5N or higher aluminum is challenging, however, since very low detection limits are required for the majority of elements.

Compared to other metals, aluminum requires a high discharge current to achieve matrix signals on the order of 1010 cps in medium resolution. Such a level is necessary to achieve sub-ppb detection limits during analyses. The Thermo Scientific ELEMENT GD effectively addresses these challenges, enabling analysts to routinely achieve ultra-low detection limits directly in aluminum, 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 less than 1 ppb. Equipped with a fast-flow DC glow-discharge source, the system provides high sputter rates and sensitivity.

In addition, the sector field mass analyzer used in the system provides high mass accuracy and precision, providing highly 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 characterize aluminum using the ELEMENT GD, including sample preparation, instrument settings, calibration conditions and method development.