What is fusion?
You might already know that the choice of the sample preparation method for X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) or Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) atomic emission spectroscopy analysis is critical to obtain precise and accurate results with the spectrometer.
Have you ever heard about fusion? Let’s demystify this technique and have a look at its benefits when compared to pressed pellets.
What is it exactly?
Fusion for XRF analysis consists of mixing a ground sample with a borate flux (lithium or sodium) inside a 95% platinum / 5% gold crucible, heating around 1000 °C with agitation until the flux melts, and then dissolving the sample homogeneously in the flux. The melt is then cast into a mold and cooled, resulting in a glass disk ready to be analyzed. The steps are the same for ICP analysis, except that the hot melt is poured into a beaker filled with diluted acid.
That being said, you might wonder why you should prioritize this technique instead of pressed pellets (XRF) or acid digestion (ICP), which are widely used in laboratories around the world.
XRF analysis benefits
Not affected by mineralogy or particle size
Fusion allows to homogeneously spread sample particles in the glass matrix formed by the borate flux. It consequently leads to very accurate, repeatable and precise analytical results since x-rays are not affected by various particles with different sizes that are randomly dispersed (like it’s the case with pressed pellets).
No matrix effect
With fusion, the matrix (glass) stays consistent. It does not impact the analysis, which once again leads to the obtainment of great results. It’s also a key for an easy calibration with synthetic standards.
ICP analysis benefits
Fast and effective
The dissolution of samples using acid digestion can take hours and it involves the use of many types of acids. With fusion, samples are completely dissolved within minutes.
Safe and clean
Fusion does not require the use of dangerous acids such as HF or HCIO4. Safety in the laboratory is increased, and waste management is simplified. Since no special laboratory hoods or protective clothing are needed to perform fusion, it helps you avoid costs!
Many types of samples can be processed
The complete and fast dissolution of all types of samples is guaranteed, including highly refractory ones such as silica and alumina-based materials.
So, what are you waiting for?
If facilitating routine analysis, increasing analytical throughput and improving the quality of analytical results while saving time, resources and money are your major concerns, then fusion is the right choice to prepare your samples.
Contact Malvern Panalytical experts today to learn more.