Another undergraduate student I am mentoring is Charu Garapaty, UCSB 2nd year undergraduate who worked with me this summer as a Eureka! intern through the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP) at the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI). Here she is learning how to use a drill press to sample whole-rock fused beads for chemical analysis using a quadrupole-based mass analyzer inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometer (ICP-Q-MS) for rapid, precise, and accurate trace element (<1000 ppm) measurements. ICP-Q-MS uses an inductively coupled Ar-gas plasma as an excitation source to ionize the sample and a quadrupole mass spectrometer as an analyzer to separate and selectively transmit sample ions of a single mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) to the detector. During this process, sample ions rapidly undergo large temperature (6000K to room temp.) and pressure (760 to 0.000001 torr) reductions before the detector (an electron multiplier) receives and amplifies the ion signal that is proportional to concentration, as determined through calibration with reference materials of known compositions. Basically, ions are systematically transferred from the plasma to the detector in a highly controlled electrostatic field within a dynamically increasing vacuum, enabling the quadrupole to scan through most of the periodic table with nearly interference free results of the sample ions in mere minutes.
Please join me in championing this cause to help support future generations of scientists by donating at my campaign page: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/science-a-thon-2018/elizabetherickson11/ You can also follow my “Day of Science” on Instagram @schemerthedreamer
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