Direct Quantification of Major and Trace Elements in Geological Samples by Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry with a Pulsed Glow Discharge

Aleksander Ganeev, Anna Titova, Boris Korotetski, Anna Gubal, Nikolay Solovyev, Alexander Vyacheslavov, Evgenia Iakovleva, Mika Sillanpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A method has been developed for the determination of 24 elements (As, B, Ce, Co, Dy, Fe, K, La, Lu, Mg, Mn, Na, Nb, Nd, P, Pr, Rb, S, Sb, Si, Sm, Th, Ti, and U) in ore samples by pulsed direct current glow discharge time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PGD-TOF-MS). Sample treatment consisted of pressing the powdered samples into 10 mm diameter aluminum tablets. Quantification was performed using relative sensitivity factors with iron as the normalization element. PGD-TOFMS has low spectral interferences and low limits of detection and provides the quantification of the wide range of elements with a single method instead of a combination of several techniques. The limits of detection of the designed method were in the range 2–4 × 10 −6 mass %, depending on the element. The designed procedure was validated by the analysis of standard reference materials. The obtained results showed adequate repeatability (6–9% relative standard deviation), demonstrating high efficiency of the glow discharge mass spectrometry for the direct analysis of geological samples. The designed method requires a minimal sample pretreatment and is applicable for the determination of wide range of elements of the periodic table (e.g., metals, nonmetals, and rare earth elements) in a single analytical procedure without sample dissolution with adequate accuracy, sensitivity, and repeatability. The designed approach may replace the complex techniques that are normally required for this task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-684
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Geological samples
  • mass spectrometry
  • multielement analysis
  • pulsed glow discharge
  • rare earth elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry (medical)
  • Electrochemistry


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