In order to facilitate reliable and efficient determination of both the particle number concentration (PNC) and the size of nanoparticles (NPs) by single-particle ICP-MS (spICP-MS) without the need to correct for the particle transport efficiency (TE, a possible source of bias in the results), a total-consumption sample introduction system consisting of a large-bore, high-performance concentric nebulizer and a small-volume on-axis cylinder chamber was utilized. Such a system potentially permits a particle TE of 100 %, meaning that there is no need to include a particle TE correction when calculating the PNC and the NP size. When the particle TE through the sample introduction system was evaluated by comparing the frequency of sharp transient signals from the NPs in a measured NP standard of precisely known PNC to the particle frequency for a measured NP suspension, the TE for platinum NPs with a nominal diameter of 70 nm was found to be very high (i.e., 93 %), and showed satisfactory repeatability (relative standard deviation of 1.0 % for four consecutive measurements). These results indicated that employing this total consumption system allows the particle TE correction to be ignored when calculating the PNC. When the particle size was determined using a solution-standard-based calibration approach without an NP standard, the particle diameters of platinum and silver NPs with nominal diameters of 30–100 nm were found to agree well with the particle diameters determined by transmission electron microscopy, regardless of whether a correction was performed for the particle TE. Thus, applying the proposed system enables NP size to be accurately evaluated using a solution-standard-based calibration approach without the need to correct for the particle TE.
Miyashita, Shin-ichi, Hiroaki Mitsuhashi, Shin-ichiro Fujii, Akiko Takatsu, Kazumi Inagaki, and Toshiyuki Fujimoto. "High transport efficiency of nanoparticles through a total-consumption sample introduction system and its beneficial application for particle size evaluation in single-particle ICP-MS." Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 409, no. 6 (2017): 1531-1545.
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