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Talanta. 2005 Feb 28;65(4):900-6. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2004.08.012.

A comparison of double-focusing sector field ICP-MS, ICP-OES and octopole collision cell ICP-MS for the high-accuracy determination of calcium in human serum.

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  • 1LGC, Queens Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 0LY, UK.


Human serum is routinely measured for total calcium content in clinical studies. A definitive high-accuracy and low-uncertainty method is required for reference measurements to underpin medical diagnoses. This study presents a novel octopole collision cell ICP-MS, high-accuracy, methodology and comparison of that technique with double-focusing sector field ICP-MS and an ICP-OES method. Double-matched isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) was employed for ICP-MS techniques and an exact matching bracketing technique using scandium as an internal standard was used for ICP-OES analysis. Medium resolution mode was utilised for double-focusing sector field ICP-MS analysis to resolve the dominant interferences on the (44)Ca/(42)Ca isotope pair. Hydrogen reaction gas was employed to chemically resolve a number of polyatomic interferences predominantly through charge transfer reactions in the octopole collision cell. Comparison data presented for NIST CRM 909b human serum analysis from all three techniques demonstrates highest accuracy (99.6%) and lowest uncertainty (1.1%) for octopole collision cell ICP-MS. Data from ICP-OES using a non-IDMS technique produces comparably accurate data and low-uncertainties. The much higher total expanded uncertainties for double-focusing sector field ICP-MS compared with octopole collision cell data are explained by lower precision on the measurement of the (44)Ca/(42)Ca isotope ratio. Data for octopole collision cell ICP-MS submitted for an international blind trial comparison (CCQM K-14) demonstrated excellent agreement with the mean of all participants with a low expanded uncertainty.

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