Determination of palladium, platinum and rhodium concentrations in urban road sediments by laser ablation-ICP-MS
Journal article, 2001
The introduction of catalytic converter technology to cars has alleviated gaseous exhaust emissions but in turn has resulted in emissions of the three platinum group metals (PGMs), Pd, Pt and Rh, contained in the automobile catalyst. The environmental effects of PGMs are still largely unknown and their accurate determination is particularly difficult because concentrations are at trace levels. Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is a direct trace element measurement technique and can be used for the rapid characterization of metals in solid environmental matrices. Here, the capability of LA-ICP-MS for the direct quantitative determination of PGMs in road sediments was assessed. Two Nd:YAG laser systems operating at 266 and 1064 nm, respectively, were coupled to an ICP-MS. Uncontaminated road sediments were spiked with PGMs, both as solution and as solid certified reference material, and used to assess the analytical performance of the technique and to calibrate the instrument. Interferences due to the formation of molecular ions and double charged ions were investigated. The LA-ICP-MS was then used to determine the concentration of PGMs in a recent urban road sediment and the results were compared with high resolution-ICP-MS measurements after microwave sample digestion with Aqua Regia. The LA-ICP-MS allows the quantitative analysis of Pd, Pt, and Rh in road sediments at sub microgram per gram levels with a relative standard deviation of 10% and with estimated detection limits in the lower nanogram per gram range. Good agreement between LA-ICP-MS and HR-ICP-MS analysis could be obtained for Pt and Rh (<3% R.S.D. at ca. 100 ng g−1) whereas the determination of Pd remains subject to interferences.
platinum group elements