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Next-generation LA-ICP-MS: a swiss knife in a multimodal toolbox


Stijn Van Malderen

ABSTRACT: Increasingly, scientific enquiries are being made in the fields of geology, environmental sciences, solid state sciences, pharmaceutics and biology where insights need to be gained in systems which operate at scales smaller than the resolution resolvable by eye, and beyond the visible spectrum. These analytical challenges require access to nano- and micro-imaging probes capable of providing molecular, elemental, and structural information. Many different imaging probes are available nowadays; one of these tools is laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS): a hyphenated technique consisting of a UV laser, which vaporizes the sample surface, and an ICP-MS, which serves as a detector for elements of the ionized aerosol.  
The field of LA-ICP-MS has undergone some significant developments in the last few years and is nowadays a versatile tool in the toolbox of an analytical scientist. In this talk, these advances, and their impact on the application scientists are discussed. LA-ICP-MS is often applied along complimentary techniques such as SR-FM, CT, MRI, SPECT, MALDI, SIMS, SEM-EDX, or SR-XRF.  By combining multiple analytical techniques, additional information can be gained through the process of data fusion, which can introduce synergistic effects. In this talk we will also look which other elemental imaging techniques are available besides LA-ICP-MS, which challenges and pitfalls they have, and how they can be combined to provide additional insights.