Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Old And Busted...New Hotness

So let's FINALLY blog about the new hotness. What am I talking about?

New instruments at work! 2 of them!

Remember this old thing? Old and busted:
It was a pile of junk. Maybe it used to work well, but over a couple years of sitting in a room with poor ventilation, it just started to corrode itself into crappiness. I often spent hours every day fiddling around with it, trying to get it to work. Plus, it was an obsolete technology, so outside labs didn't want to contract with us for heavy metals testing.

Enter the new hotness:
Agilent ICP-MS 7500cx.
Oh. My. This thing is a work of art. It doesn't need tweaking every day! It has a detection limit of 1 ppt (part per trillion) (that is amazing people)! That is over 100 times more sensitive than the old and busted! The best part? It can do MORE than just heavy metals. It can do almost ANY element, and isotope analysis for each! That means carbon dating HOLY CRAP I AM SO COOL NOW.
So now we can get outside labs to contract for us with all sorts of amazing things, including more heavy metals testing. But so far we have run several multimineral mixtures that used to take hours and hours overnight to run on the ICP-OES, but now with the new program I wrote into it, it takes about an hour at the most! Here's what it looks like to run this program:
Hard to see, but there are three sets of standards, 2 QCs, about 17 different elements being analyzed all at the same time.

So there is the first new instrument. BEAUTIFUL.

Remember this old and busted?
Oh how I loved running mercury on this baby. NOT. It was easy enough to run but it took 2 full days and 5 different chemical reagents to run a sample.

Here's the new hotness:
Milestone DMA-80
All this one does is mercury, but it does it so well. So very well. Its detection limit is 50 ng (that's nanograms, that's ridiculously small). I just load it up and walk away.
The best part? It takes NO prep AT ALL. I just load the sample itself into a little boat and away it goes!
When I need to rush a sample, I also have the capability to stop the instrument where it is, run a specific sample, then go back to what it was doing before. SO COOL.

So, there you go. Sorry for being nerdy (again).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what I'm looking at, but if it makes your job easier, I'm all about it.