Trace Element Analysis

Quantitative determination of major elements besides trace elements in industrial materials is of economic as well as environmental importance. Reliable chemical data on primary and secondary raw materials are important in research and development, but also in decision-making for the process optimization and/or the federal administration (BAFU). Our expertise is in the solution of complex and unique analytical challenges, in the context of qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis. Be it regarding state-of-the-art or future materials, bio-compatible matrices, or environmental samples, our decennial expertise offers full quality and statitical robustness.

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The development and deployment of consistent advanced analytical methods for the determination of critical traces  in raw materials, e.g.  rare earth elements (REE) in electronic waste, is necessary for the creation of a data repository. Main techniques operated in this research context are the following ones:

  • Sample preparation procedures by different mill-steps such as shredder
  • Pre-analysis information’s or semiquantitative analysis by x-Ray fluorescence spectrometry (WD-XRF). In some cases direct quantitative analysis is possible, e.g. steels.
  • Sample digestion by microwave oder high pressure asher (HPA) assisted
  • Element measurement’s (ppm-%) by optical inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (ICP-OES)
  • Element measurement’s (ppb-ppm) by inductively coupled mass spectrometry (QQQ-ICP-MS) with different reaction modes such as O2, H2, NH3 and He
  • Non-metal determinations such as O, N , C, S  and H for many matrices by combustion methods
  • Expert lab in method development for inorganic  element and ion analysis
References

Haass, S. G., Andres, C., Figi, R., Schreiner, C., Bürki, M., Tiwari, A. N., & Romanyuk, Y. E. (2018). Effects of potassium on kesterite solar cells: similarities, differences and synergies with sodium. AIP Advances, 8(1), 015133 (11 pp.).

Kühnel, R. S., Reber, D., Remhof, A., Figi, R., Bleiner, D., & Battaglia, C. (2016). “Water-in-salt” electrolytes enable the use of cost-effective aluminum current collectors for aqueous high-voltage batteries. Chemical Communications, 52(68), 10435-10438.

Figi, R., Schreiner, C., & Bleiner, D. (2005). Systematic investigations of plastic vials concerning their suitability for ultratrace anion analysis in high-purity industrial applications. Mikrochimica acta, 150(3-4), 199-209.