“The SIFT-MS results correlate very well with natural abundance of the predominant mercury isotopes”


Jessica Creak Syft Technologies Application Scientist

Jessica Creak

BA(Hons), MA(Cantab)


Applications Scientist

SIFT-MS Mercury Mass Spectra
Figure 1. Shows the results obtained from a Scan mode Spectrum of Mercury using the 02+ reagent ion.

Posted by Jessica Creak, Applications Scientist at Syft Technologies.
With thanks to SRA Instruments!

Mercury (Hg) is a heavy metal that is toxic by inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. There are regulations which determine safe levels in commodities such as drinking water, seafood, consumer goods, and pharmaceutical products.

Few methods detect trace levels of mercury and these are usually purpose-built instruments and have lengthy analysis times.

SIFT-MS has the ability to detect mercury at low levels in seconds, without the need for sample preparation. Figure 1, shows the results obtained in a 50-second SCAN-mode spectrum of mercury using the O2+ reagent ion. Note that the peaks to the right side of the spectrum reveal that a water molecule can bind to the Hg+ primary product, forming Hg+.H2O.

The SIFT-MS results correlate very well with natural abundance of the predominant mercury isotopes shown in the table below. This reveals the potential for highly selective and precise measurement of mercury using SIFT-MS gas analysis.

IsotopeNatural abundance
198Hg10.0%
199Hg16.9%
200Hg23.1%
201Hg13.2%
202Hg29.9%
204Hg6.9%

To learn more about SIFT-MS as a solution for rapid, simple analysis of mercury (and VOCs, and inorganic gases!)

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