dispatches from Analytica 2016

Agilent Technologies introduces atomic spectroscopy platform

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Agilent 5110 ICP-OES
Picture: Agilent 5110 ICP-OES

Related tags Analytical chemistry

Agilent Technologies has added to its line-up of inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometers (ICP-OES) at Analytica 2016 in Munich.

It said the 5110 ICP-OES will enable scientists to perform faster, more precise analysis than before in food, environmental and pharmaceutical testing.

ICP-OES can be used for applications such as tracking potential contaminants in milk due to its high throughput.

Analytical needs

Andreas Kistner, senior director for spectroscopy in EMEA region, said there is a continuum of elemental analysis technologies going from basic AA flame systems to high end ICP-MS triple quads.

“Depending on the needs and the financial capabilities of each lab, you are picking a technology for environmental analysis from that portfolio,” ​he told FoodQualityNews.

“I think the positioning of the ICP-OES versus MS is a question of the analytical needs, how sensitive and precise you need to measure, but also you need to consider the price point of an ICP-MS is much different than an OES and, for example, if it is not required by regulation or you are working in an environment that doesn’t allow for MS technologies, you are quite often choosing an OES.

“There is this move in the market that we all observe, in developed countries and established markets we see a move to ICP-MS technology but since we are looking globally we are still serving a very big market in emerging economies for AA, for OES or for the microwave plasma instrument.”

The system builds on the 5100 ICP-OES, which captures axial and radial views of plasma in one measurement thanks to Dichroic Spectral Combiner (DSC) technology, enabling laboratories to use half as much argon, saving time and money.

Combined with a vertical torch and zero gas consumption VistaChip II CCD detector, the 5100 ICP-OES (also ICP-AES) runs samples up to 55% faster using 50% less argon.

Kistner said it had been a heated debate in the ICP-OES world whether an axial or radial view would give you more information on the sample.

“We can do it simultaneously so you get the information of the radial and axial view at the same time and we call that simultaneous-dual view and that resolved the long-ranging dispute in the OES world. That also gives you a benefit in argon consumption and time to analysis,” ​he said. 

“There was a methodology around that [using axial or radial views] for some samples or applications one was more preferable than the other. The first level was a couple of competitors instruments that could do both, we have taken it to the next level as it does it both at the same time.”

Sample prep and matrix interference

Agilent said the 5110 includes an integrated Advanced Valve System (AVS) with hardware and software technologies that enable high throughput with precision and ease of use, IntelliQuant measurement for sample screening and method development and new diagnostic capabilities that maximize uptime and simplify troubleshooting.

The firm added the optional AVS features controlled bubble injection to achieve analytical precision.

Gernot Hudin, product specialist for elemental business in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region, told us that the AVS helps the speed of sample introduction into the system.

“So for high throughput laboratories it is a big advantage as a sample enters the chamber, enters the torch and your contaminants are washed out by the rinsing solution and the next sample is in the loop while the first sample is doing this measurement,” ​he said.

“So you have a win-win situation. You can have a higher sample throughput without the compromise to have either high sensitivity or high throughput. With our best set-up you can have a sample throughput one every 22 seconds.”

Hudin said sample preparation is one of the most important parts in the whole line.

“When the sample preparation is not well done you can have the best system but it doesn’t help you.

“Normally you have to acidify your samples and it is not possible to do it with a solid sample so you have to bring them into a liquid. There is the issue of homogenous sample introduction so when you take just one piece of a sample you cannot be sure that you have the homogenous piece.

“Matrix interference is always a problem which can occur but we can separate…but also if you have a direct overlapping you can switch to another wavelength and if you have to choose this wavelength, then there is an easier option because due to our CCD detector technology we are able to use the high pixel amount to separate those overlapping wavelengths by clicking on an effect in the software.”

Kistner said the development of the next generation of OES started after the acquisition of Varian more than six years ago.

“Since we didn’t want to bring just a successor of an existing instrument but a new technology to the market it took until two years ago,” ​he said.

“So now we are coming with the next version of the instrument which gives you a strong indication we will not stop innovating on the environmental technologies we have in our portfolio.

“[The ICP] instrument has enabled growth and market share gains in the last two years and we’ve taken a lot of feedback from customers what they would like to see from us in the future and that’s is what we launched here, the new software, the integrated valve, the productivity gains in terms of sample throughput and the reduced consumption of argon which is driving the cost of sample down.”

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