Care of ICP-MS Cones - When to clean
The frequency at which the cones are cleaned depends very much on the application and the workload of the instrument. If the samples are clean and the usage is low, the cones may only need cleaning monthly. But if the instrument is in continuous use and/or the samples contain high levels of dissolved solids or are highly corrosive, the cones may need cleaning daily.
The cones should be cleaned if there are visible deposits near the orifice or if the orifice is blocked or distorted. Deterioration in the performance of the ICP-MS can also indicate that the cones may need cleaning. In particular, watch for increased background signal, memory effects, loss of sensitivity or distorted peak shapes. A change in the instrument vacuum reading can also be an indication of cone problems. If the orifice gets blocked, the vacuum will increase (pressure decrease), although there will usually be a deterioration in performance before this point. If the vacuum decreases (pressure increases), this could indicate that the orifice is worn and has increased in size. If this happens the cone needs to be replaced.
The sampler cone, being exposed to the plasma, will usually need cleaning more often than the skimmer cone. If the performance of the instrument does not recover when the cones are cleaned, then you may need to replace them.
Click here to read more about the caring for ICP-MS Cones on the Glass Expansion website