Document Type



The combination of ultrasonic nebulization with membrane desolvation (USN-MD) is utilized to determine active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) by heteroatom inductively coupled mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) detection. Ultrasonic nebulization provides efficient sampling while use of the membrane desolvator acts to reduce solvent-based interferences. This approach reduces interferences sufficiently so that a standard argon ICPquadrupole MS can be utilized. Examined APIs and associated heteroatoms included: phosphomycin (P), amoxicillin (S), chlorpropamide (Cl), and ofloxacin (F). The optimum plasma r.f. powers for P, S, and Cl were in the 1000 to 1200 watts range. The high ionization energy of F required that the plasma be operated at 1500W. The 16O2 þ interference at mass 32 precluded determinations using the sulfur-32. The sulfur-34 (4.2% natural isotopic abundance), however, was relatively free of isobaric interferences. Interferences were relatively small at the mass 35 isotope of Cl, but increased with higher ICP r.f. powers. Overlaps were significant at the masses of monoisotopic species, fluorine-19 and phosphorus-31. Detection limits for P, S, Cl, and F of 2, 3, 90, and 3000 ng/mL, respectively, were generally lower than those produced with other quadrupole systems and comparable to or better than values published utilizing high-resolution instruments.

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Original Citation

Kwok, K.; Carr, J. E.; Webster, G. K.; Carnahan, J. W. Determination of active pharmaceutical ingredients by heteroatom selective detection using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry with ultrasonic nebulization and membrane desolvation sample introduction. (2006) Appl. Spectrosc., 60: 80–85.


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Legacy Department

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry






Optical Society of America



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