IC-ICP-MS Speciation Analyzer

Elemental species separation and detection

Simply measuring the total amount of an element in a sample does not provide the complete picture. Industries such as pharmaceutical, food, and environmental often measure elements that can exist as multiple molecular forms, or ‘species’, that exhibit different physiochemical properties. Some can be toxic.

To determine a sample’s safety or toxicity, these industries need to identify and quantify the different species of an element that might be present in a sample. The method of choice for speciation analysis is ion chromatography (IC) coupled with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (IC-ICP-MS).

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IC-ICP-MS analyzer for speciation analysis

While total elemental content can be analyzed by ICP-MS, speciation analysis of trace elements is ideally performed by a Thermo Scientific IC-ICP-MS system. The speciation analyzer includes a metal-free IC system with high resolution ion exchange columns and simple online connectivity, together with high sensitivity ICP-MS and integrated software.

Configure the IC system with an ICP-MS system for your budget, throughput, performance, and detection requirements for your application.

Metal-free IC system

Separate individual ionic species without metal contamination.

Integrion IC system

ICP-MS system

Detect and quantify trace elements.



Control and process data, simplify your workflow and maximize efficiency.

Qtegra Intelligent Scientific Data Solution

System configurations

Speciation element Dionex Aquion IC System Dionex Integrion HPIC System Dionex ICS-6000 HPIC System
Arsenic Limited to inorganic species Suitable* Recommended*, **
Bromate Limited to inorganic species Recommended* Suitable
Chromium Suitable Recommended Suitable
Mercury Suitable Recommended Suitable
Selenium Limited to inorganic species Suitable* Recommended*, **
Limited to inorganic species Limited to inorganic species Suitable Suitable Recommended Recommended
*Organic species **Enhanced optimization  

Example elements and their toxic species

  • Arsenite As (III) and arsenate As (V) are inorganic toxic forms of arsenic.
  • Organic arsenic species are mildly toxic.
  • Toxic methylmercury (MeHg+) species can be present in food such as fish.
  • Ethylmercury (EtHg+ or EtHgX) has a faster degradation and excretion rate with considerably lower chronic toxicity. However, acute intake of EtHg+ can occur by exposure to thiomersal, which is a bactericide in products such as eye drops, contact lens solutions, and vaccines.
  • Chromium, Cr (III) is essential to human beings and involved in different biological processes.
  • Cr (VI) is highly toxic.

Other examples of elemental analyses that can benefit from ion chromatographic separation include selenium and lanthanides.

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