Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) method is intended to measure trace amounts of various elements in samples. The amount of dilution required to run high boron concentration products via ICP introduces errors that impact accuracy and precision. Experts recommend that multiple elements can be measured simultaneously by ICP-OES, but boron should be measured independently (PDF courtesy of the Office of Indiana State Chemist)
—thus removing the time savings benefit of ICP-OES.
In addition, ICP has some fundamental flaws when it comes to boron that make it difficult to obtain accurate and precise measurements:
- Boron is a sticky element within the ICP tubing which can cause carry over or “memory” effects that can create erroneously over reporting results
- The boron signal is commonly interfered with by iron (a ubiquitous element)
- ICPs by nature have many settings and variables that make it difficult to compare between labs (eg physical components, wavelength selection, exposure times, and quantification parameters)
- There is no internationally accepted ICP-OES method that results in high accuracy and precision, especially for samples with high boron concentration