Determination of inorganic contaminants in carbon nanotubes by plasma-based techniques: Overcoming the limitations of sample preparation.


Departamento de Química, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Av. Roraima, 1000, 97105-900 Santa Maria, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


In this work, sample preparation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for further determination of inorganic contaminants was investigated using a microwave-assisted wet digestion single reaction chamber system (MAWD-SRC). Analytes (Al, As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Fe, La, Mg, Mo, Ni, Pb and Zn) were determined in CNTs by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS, except for Al, Ca, Fe and Mg). Method parameters were evaluated, as the mass of CNT (25-300 mg), the temperature (220-270 °C) and the time (35-75 min) of irradiation program. The accuracy was evaluated by using a certified reference material (CRM) of CNT and also by comparison of the results with those obtained using neutron activation analysis (NAA) and high resolution continuum source graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry with direct solid sampling (DSS-HR-CS-GF AAS). Quantitative recoveries for all elements were obtained using 275 mg of CNTs, 6 mL of 14.4 mol L-1 HNO3 and 0.5 mL of 30% H2O2 with an irradiation program of 65 min (35 min at 270 °C). No statistical difference was observed between the results obtained after the decomposition of CNTs by MAWD-SRC with those obtained by NAA and DSS-HR-CS-GF AAS. No difference was also observed for the results using the proposed method and the values for the CRM of CNT. The use of MAWD-SRC showed good performance for CNTs digestion using relatively high sample mass (up to 275 mg), contributing to low limits of quantification (LOQs) and overcoming the current limitations of sample preparation. To the best knowledge of the authors, this work reports the highest sample mass feasible to be decomposed using wet digestion for CNTs among the methods proposed in literature.


Carbon nanotubes analysis,ICP-MS,ICP-OES,Inorganic contaminants,Microwave-assisted wet digestion,Sample preparation,