Hyphenated techniques as modern detection systems in ion chromatography

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Courtesy of Metrohm AG

Ion chromatography (IC) with conductivity detection has been successfully used to analyze low-molecular organic compounds such as amines and organic acids, as well as anionic and cationic substances. However, due to current toxicity concerns and the consequently lowered maximum contaminant levels (MCL), analyses in complex matrices require improved sensitivity and selectivity.

The coupling of IC with multi-dimensional detectors such as an electrospray ionization mass spectrometer (ESI-MS) or an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP/MS) solves even complex separation problems, simultaneously achieving outstanding sensitivity and selectivity. Additionally, these so-called hyphenated techniques provide valuable information for an unambiguous peak identification and are less prone to matrix influences than conductivity detection. While IC-ICP/MS is used for element-specific analysis, IC/MS allows the identification of parent compounds and corresponding metabolites.

This article deals with the determination of bromate, perchlorate and organic acids by IC/MS as well as with the detection of inorganic and organic chromium, arsenic and selenium species by IC-ICP/MS.

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