Trace Element, Spectroscopy and Speciation Group (GETEE), Strategic Grouping in Materials (AEMAT), Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Bromatology, Faculty of Chemistry, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Avenida das Ciencias, s/n., 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]
Advances on nanometrology require reliable sample pre-treatment methods for extracting/isolating nanomaterials from complex samples. The current development deals with a discontinuous ultrasonication (60% amplitude, 15 cycles of ultrasound treatment for 59 s plus relaxing stage for 59 s, 20 mL of methanol) method for a fast and quantitative extraction of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) from moisturizing creams. Possibilities offered by modern inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) which allow 'single particle' assessment (sp-ICP-MS) have been used for Ag NPs assessment (Ag NPs concentration and Ag size distribution). The relative standard deviation (RSD) of the over-all procedure (Ag NPs concentration in eleven extracts from a same cream) was found to be 5%; whereas, the analytical recovery for spiking experiments with Ag NPs of 20, 40, and 60 nm was found to be within the 90-109% range. The limit of quantification in Ag NPs concentration was established at 8.25 × 105 Ag NPs g-1; whereas, the limit of detection in size was found to be within the 5-13 nm (several equations were used for calculation). Finally, moisturizing creams prescribed for atopic dermatitis and also regular moisturizing creams were analyzed for total Ag, and for Ag NPs characterization (Ag NPs concentration and Ag NPs size distribution) by sp-ICP-MS. Electronic microscopy was also used for comparative (qualitative) purposes.