Determination of platinum group elements in environmental samples using in-line mini-column pre-concentration and separation coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
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A method for the determination of platinum group elements (PGEs) in natural tree samples was developed. An alumina column in-line with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) achieves the separation of interferents as well as pre-concentration of the analytes. The application of this proposed method on tree top samples displayed an effective separation of Ru, Rh, Re, Pd, Ir and Pt from the interferents, Ni, Cu and Zn for quantitative analysis of the analytes. The concentration data was compared to ICP-HRMS data and while it was difficult to determine whether the concentrations were in agreement or not, as both methods have a large degree of error. However, both methods displayed elevated concentrations of PGEs in areas over geological conductors in Rock Lake, Manitoba. This proposed method offers distinct advantages over previous on-line methods, as it is extended to include multiple PGEs as well as reduces sample consumption to a more suitable volume for natural samples. While the detection limit is higher than previous methods due to the lowered sample volume, it is still lower than the detection limits reported in commercial laboratories.