Facultade de Fisioterapia

Green method for ultrasensitive determination of Hg in natural waters by electrothermal-atomic absorption spectrometry following sono-induced cold vapor generation and ‘in-atomizer trapping’

Authors: S. Gil, Isela Lavilla, Carlos Bendicho

Journal: Spectrochimica Acta Part B, 62: 69-75, 01/2007

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sab.2006.12.001


Sono-induced cold vapor generation (SI-CVG) has been used for the first time in combination with a graphite furnace atomizer for determination of Hg in natural waters by electrothermal-atomic absorption spectrometry after in situ trapping onto a noble metal-pretreated platform (Pd, Pt or Rh) inserted into a graphite tube. The system allows ‘in-atomizer trapping’ of Hg without the use of conventional reduction reactions based on sodium borohydride or tin chloride in acid medium for cold vapor generation. The sono-induced reaction is accomplished by applying ultrasound irradiation to the sample solution containing Hg(II) in the presence of an organic compound such as formic acid. As this organic acid is partly degraded upon ultrasound irradiation to yield CO, CO2, H2 and H2O, the amount of lab wastes is minimized and a green methodology is achieved.

For this purpose, experimental variables influencing the generation/trapping process are fully investigated. The limit of detection for a 10 min trapping time and 10 mL sample volume was 0.03 μg L− 1 (Integrated absorbance) and the repeatability expressed as relative standard deviation was about 3%. Carbonates and chlorides at 100 mg L− 1 level caused a signal depression by 20–30%. The enhanced trapping efficiency observed with the sono-induced cold vapor generation as compared with ‘in-atomizer trapping’ methods employing chemical vapor generation is discussed. A reaction pathway for SI-CVG is proposed on the basis of the current knowledge for synthesis of noble metal nanoparticles by ultrasound.