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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

3. Inorganic mass spectrometry

From the book Chemical Analysis in Cultural Heritage

  • Josefina Pérez-Arantegui and Francisco Laborda


Inorganic mass spectrometry has been used as a well-known analytical technique to determine elemental/isotopic composition of very diverse materials, based on the different mass-to-charge ratios of the ions produced in a specific source. In this case, two mass spectrometric techniques are explained and their analytical properties discussed: inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS), since they are the most used in art and archaeological material studies. Both techniques combine advantageous analytical properties, like low detection limits, low interferences and high precision. The use of laser ablation as sample introduction system in ICP-MS allows to avoid sample preparation and to perform good spatial-resolution analysis. The development of new instruments, improving the mass separation and the detection of the ions, specially multicollection detectors, results in high-precision isotopic analysis. A summary of the important applications of these mass spectrometric techniques to the analysis of art and archaeological materials is also highlighted.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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