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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2011 Jan;399(2):973-8. doi: 10.1007/s00216-010-4298-z. Epub 2010 Oct 16.

Particle size characterization of titanium dioxide in sunscreen products using sedimentation field-flow fractionation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Center of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand.


Sedimentation field-flow fractionation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SdFFF-ICP-MS) was successfully applied to investigate particle size distribution of titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) in sunscreen samples after hexane extraction to remove organic components from the samples. Three brands of sunscreen products of various sun protection factor (SPF) value were used as samples. Different particle size distribution profiles were observed for sunscreen samples of various brands and SPF values; however, the particle size distributions of titanium dioxide in most sunscreen samples investigated in this work were larger than 100 nm. The titanium dioxide concentrations were higher for the products of higher SPF values. By comparing the results obtained from online SdFFF-ICP-MS and those from the off-line ICP-MS determination of titanium after acid digestion, ICP-MS was found to effectively atomize and ionize the titanium dioxide particle without the need for acid digestion of the samples. Therefore, the online coupling between SdFFF and ICP-MS could be effectively used to provide quantitative information of titanium dioxide concentrations across particle size distribution profiles.

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