2001 Volume 17 Issue 1 Pages 171-173
A combined method of electrothermal vaporization and low-pressure helium ICP-MS was developed for the determination of traces of arsenic in chloride solutions, because serious spectral interference occurred in conventional argon ICP-MS. On a tungsten filament was placed 5 µl of a sample and heated electrothermally to remove the solvent. The resulting residue on the filament was covered with a vaporization chamber, and after reducing the pressure to ca. 5 Torr, it was rapidly heated by discharging a high-capacity condenser (0.22 F). The vapor of arsenic was transferred to a helium plasma with a stream of carrier gas for the determination. The background was not observed at m/z of 75, which allowed the determination of arsenic at ng/ml levels in chloride solutions. Sodium chloride significantly enhanced the intensity of the arsenic signal, whereas other chlorides, including KCl, MgCl2, CaCl2 and NH4Cl, suppressed the analytical signals. This enhancement due to sodium ions seems to be a peculiar phenomenon to the helium ICP. The proposed method can be applied to direct determinations of as low as 0.9 ng/ml of arsenic in seawater.