Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry using solution nebulization has the ability to analyze up to 70 elements with good precision, accuracy, and sensitivity and is, therefore, well suited for the trace element analysis of glass. However, the technique places severe restrictions on sample preparation. High concentrations of acids or dissolved solids, changes in sample viscosity and molecular compound formation can cause physical, spectral and chemical interference. Solubilization of the glass samples based on a three acid digestion procedure (HF, HNO3, HCl 2:1:1) has been found to minimize these problems. Up to 62 elements have been determined in a range of glass samples. Glasses that could not be distinguished on the basis of refractive index measurement could be discriminated. A procedure of measuring a range of elemental ratios, which eliminated the need for weighing, was used to compare small samples typical of casework.
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