ICP-MS: tuning solutions

Normal tuning solution

This solution is used for all calibrations except the dual detector calibration (see below for that).

To a 100 ml volumetric flask add 0.1 ml of each of thirteen 1000 μg/g single element solutions (Be, Mg, Fe, Co, Y, Rh, In, Ba, Ce, Lu, Pb, Th, U), 7 ml of high-purity HNO3, and dilute to volume. Transfer this to a clean storage bottle. Element concentration is 1 ppm. This step only has to be done rarely.

To a clean 100 ml volumetric flask 0.1 ml of the stock solution (above) and 1.4 ml of high-purity HNO3, and dilute to volume. Element concentration is 1 ppb, acid is 1%.

Dual detector calibration solution

This calibration allows elements in samples to be measured in either the low sensitivity mode (>2 Mcps, “analog mode”) or the high sensitivity mode (<2 Mcps, “pulse mode”). This calibration turns both modes into a single linear system.

Fill a clean 1 liter plastic bottle with deionized water and add 70 ml of high-purity HNO3. Add 0.1 ml of each of the 1000 μg/g single element solutions you think you will need in the future. Don’t be stingy, more elements won’t hurt anything. This will give you 100 ppb for each of the elements added. For a lot of common water and rock work, the elements Si, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Ni, Sr, and Ba may be enough. Fe is not needed because ArO+ is already present, as are several light mass interferences that are usable. Don’t you dare try to calibrate on mass 40.

If you need another element, you can add it to the bottle any time you want. Just estimate the amount of single element solution you need based on how much calibration solution is left in the 1 liter bottle. The high 5% acid concentration is to help keep everything in solution. Exact concentrations don’t matter.