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The role of ICP-MS in Separation Science



Antonio R. Montoro Bustos


Since its introduction in the 1980s, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) has evolved to become arguably the most versatile and powerful technique for the elemental analysis of metals, metalloids and selected non-metals at (ultra-)trace levels. Given its several unique properties, ICP-MS has been utilized in numerous advanced applications in very diverse fields. However, ICP-MS detector information is only elemental, as structural information of the (bio)molecules/species gets lots within the plasma. This major limitation of ICP-MS can be overcome by using it as on-line element-specific detector coupled to a continuous separation technique that adds a dimension of selectivity by separating all the species containing the target element and presenting them in sequence to the ICP-MS detector. Together they can provide a sound foundation for the resolution of complex mixtures of different analytes as well as mixtures of different species/fractions of the same target element. The development of these hyphenated approaches has also boosted the importance of ICP-MS as an integral powerful tool in the fields of environmental and bio-inorganic trace element speciation, characterization of nanomaterials, metallomics, etc. The original papers presented in this Virtual Issue on the Role of ICP-MS in Separation Science highlight the diverse work published in CHROMATOGRAPHIA during the last two years. We expect contributions to the journal in these areas to continue to grow and welcome your submissions.


ICP-MS, separation science


Montoro, A. (2019), The role of ICP-MS in Separation Science, Chromatographia (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created December 17, 2019, Updated April 13, 2020