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Analytical Chemistry Division (V)


Number: 2007-041-1-500

Title: Mechanistic Aspects of Chemical Vapor Generation of volatile hydrides for trace element determination

Task Group
Alessandro D'Ulivo

Members: Jiri Dedina, Ralph Sturgeon, Qiuquan Wang, Bernhard Welz, and Zoltan Mester

Clarification of controversial aspects related to formation of trace element hydrides/volatile metals species using aqueous phase reaction by borane complexes as derivatization reagents.

Aqueous phase chemical vapor generation (CVG) by borane complex derivatization is one of the most powerful and worldwide employed method for determination and speciation of trace and ultratrace elements Ge, Sn, Pb, As, Sb, Bi, Se, Te, Hg, Cd and, more recently also several transition and noble metal, coupled with atomic spectrometric techniques.

Thousands of research papers and many regulated analytical methods are based on CVG. However, since its first application, more than 35 years ago, the application and validation of CVG to many different analytical targets has been the prevailing aspect, while only limited efforts has been dedicated to clarification of mechanistic aspects. Analytical CVG it is still dominated by erroneous concepts (as for example the nascent hydrogen theory) which has been disseminated and consolidated in the analytical scientific community in the course of many years. As a consequence, the approach to CVG remains quite empirical, which hinders the possibility of further development. A rationalization of the field, based on more rigorous scientific approach appears to be necessary, and it could be also an impulse for further development in CVG.

In the last decade significant efforts have been dedicated to experiments and literature survey devoted to clarification of the mechanism of hydrolysis of tetrahydroborate(III) and other borane complexes, the mechanism of generation of volatile hydrides (AsH3, Me2AsH, MeAsH2, SbH3, BiH3, GeH4 and SnH4) and unknown or not yet identified volatile species of transition and noble metals. The collected evidences give a solid base for the rationalization of the mechanism involved in CVG techniques.



Last Update: 2 January 2008

<project announcement published in Chem. Int. 30(3) 2008>


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