Ion Chromatography (IC)

Facility Overview

Ion chromatography (IC) is a method for separation of ionic species in aqueous solutions according to their affinity to a stationary phase within a chromatographic column whose concentrations are then quantified using a conductivity or other detector. IC can be utilized to measure a variety of species including major and minor anions, major and minor cations, and organic acids. IC is primarily used to assess water chemistry in natural or artificial systems but can also be used to analysis extracts of solid samples such as soils. The EMES is equipped with a Dionex ICS-6000 Dual Channel High Pressure Ion Chromatography system configured to enable concurrent analysis of cations and anions using conductivity detection. The standard setup utilizes a CS-16 column for analysis of Li, Na, K, Mg, Ca, and NH4 and an AS-11 column for analysis of Cl, F, Br, NO2, NO3, SO4, and PO4. Other analytes such as organic acids, amines, or other metals may also be analyzed using the system but may require system reconfiguration. Please contact EMES staff if you are interested in performing nonroutine analyses.

Sample Preparation

Samples should be submitted in either 1.5 mL or 10 mL plastic vials with split septa caps that are compatible with the AS-AP autosampler. Thermo Scientific vial kits (Item #’s 055427 and 055058) are preferred although other brands may be utilized if approved by EMES. All samples should be filtered to at least 0.45 micron to remove any particulate matter. Failure to filter samples resulting in damage to columns or other instrument hardware will incur additional charges. Samples should be diluted such that all analytes of interest are within the appropriate calibration range (typically between 0.1 and 50 ppm). Samples containing high concentrations of organic compounds such as humic acids or transition metals may require additional sample preparation steps prior to analysis. EMES staff can provide assistance into sample preparation procedures; however, it is ultimately the responsibility of the user to ensure that samples are prepared to meet their analytical needs and do not result in contamination and/or loss of analytes.

User Fees

Analysis fees for the IC are charged at an hourly rate to cover instrument maintenance and consumable costs. User fees for routine cation (Li, Na, K, Mg, Ca, and NH4) and anion (of Cl, F, Br, NO2, NO3, SO4, and PO4) analyses are charged at the following rates:

Anions Cations Labor
Research $26.10/hr $13.05/hr $47.24/hr
Commercial $84.56/hr $42.28/hr $86.92/hr

Typical run times are 30 minutes per sample for cation analyses and 15 minutes per sample for anion analyses. A minimum charge two hours is required for both cation and anion analyses.

Primary Contact:

Dr. Scott Beeler
Research Scientist II - Analytical Chemistry
Office: Mineral Industries 212B
Phone: (605) 394-2380