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Journal of Automated Methods and Management in Chemistry
Volume 25, Issue 4, Pages 93-100
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/S1463924603000166

Automation of a flow injection system for the determination of dissolved silver at picomolar concentrations in seawater with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

School of Earth, Ocean and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

An automated flow injection system for the determination of dissolved silver at ultratrace concentrations in seawater, and controlled under LabVIEW™, is described. The flow injection system allows online processing of seawater samples before their analysis using a magnetic sector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MS-ICP-MS) instrument. Samples were analysed with a minimum amount of manipulation, thereby reducing the risk of contamination. In addition, the flow injection approach with incorporation of an anion exchange minicolumn allowed ready removal of analytical interferences caused by the saline matrix. The software allowed full control of all flow injection components (valves and pumps) and removed manual time control and, therefore, operator errors. The optimized system was capable of five sample injections per h, including preconcentration and wash steps. The limit of detection was 0.5 pM for a 240-s sample load time, which allowed the determination of dissolved silver in open ocean waters, where picomolar concentration levels are typically encountered.