All courses will be held in parallel at the Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel. Details are still being finalized and more courses may be added. Please check soon for updates.

Control Charts for Analytical Chemists. Instructor: Edgar F. Paski (ed@edpaski.com)

Workshop objectives: To give participants an understanding of control charts and their application in testing laboratories.

What you will learn

  • How to set up and use control charts for monitoring central tendency and precision.
  • Why control charts are essential for laboratories accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:(2005 and 2017)
  • How to use control charts for measurement uncertainty estimates
  • Using control charts for monitoring trends
  • Role of control charts in establishing metrological traceability of measurements

Who should attend: This one day workshop is designed for individuals engaged in making chemical, physical and microbiological measurements, regulatory body personnel, policy makers, users of measurement data.  The topics covered are relevant to analytical chemists, microbiologists, laboratory personnel, process engineers, managers, quality assurance and quality control specialists as well as supervisory personnel.

Practicum: Please bring an empty USB flash drive and a notebook PC with spreadsheet software (LibreOffice Calc or Microsoft Excel).

Workshop content

Introduction                Why control charts are an essential part of a lab’s quality system

  • Meeting requirements of the ISO/IEC 17025:(2005 and 2017) Standards
  • Common types of control charts: central tendency, precision
  • Trends: the basics of detection and evaluation of trends
  • Tools for charting: pen & paper, spreadsheets, SPC software
  • What to chart

Statistics                      The basis for control charting

  • Confidence intervals for the mean and standard deviation
  • Inference and decisions
  • Probabilities of events occurring and setting limits
  • How many points are needed for establishing limits
  • Updating and revising limits
  • Certified reference materials (CRM’s) and their specifications
  • Practicum

Central tendency         The Shewhart Chart

  • Establishing zones and limits
  • WECO, Nelson and Westgard rules for trends
  • Bias and measurement uncertainty
  • Practicum

Precision                      Range and Range Ratio Charts

  • When to use range charts and range ratio charts
  • Calculating range and range ratios
  • Factors for warning and control limits
  • Use in estimating measurement uncertainty
  • Trends
  • Practicum

Specialty charts           Charts for trends

  • Cusum for gradual drift
  • J Chart for trends and conventional limits
  • Practicum


Ed Paski earned his B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Waterloo and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of British Columbia.  He has worked in industry and government in the areas of mining and mineral exploration, environmental chemistry, pulp and paper technology.  He teaches courses in analytical atomic spectrometry, quality assurance and the assayer certification program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).  He assesses testing laboratories to the ISO/IEC 17025:(2005 and 2017) Standards for the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA).  His professional interests include: plasma spectrochemistry, sampling, chemometrics, automated chemical analysis, trace elements in geological and environmental materials, quality assurance, laser applications in analytical chemistry, multidimensional luminescence spectrometry, computer applications in analytical chemistry.

ICP Elemental Analysis: from Sample Introduction to Matrix Effects. Instructor: José-Luis Todolí (Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Science, University of Alicante, P.O. Box 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain, jose.todoli@ua.es)

This short course deals with practical aspects regarding the elemental analysis using both Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) and Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). A first chapter contains the description of the design and operating principles of liquid sample introduction systems including nebulizers, spray chambers and desolvation systems. Attention will be paid to the analysis of microsamples requiring the use of the so-called low sample consumption systems. Advice about the selection of suitable devices according to the application considered as well as those aimed at optimizing the performance of the ICP spectrometer will be given.

Interferences are still one of the most severe problem faced by plasma spectrochemistry. They can be classified as spectral and non-spectral phenomena. The different sources of interferences will be thoroughly discussed in a second part of the present course. Matrices will be classified as inorganic acids, easily ionized elements and organics. Methods to alleviate and/or to remove matrix effects will be discussed. As a representative example, the analysis of petroleum products and biofuels through ICP will be the focus of the course final part. This analytical challenge will be considered from the point of view of sample preparation, introduction, signal optimization and speciation.

Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Instructor: Henry Longerich (Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL A1B 3X5, Canada, henryl@mun.ca)

While the emphasis of this course deals with the fundamentals of laser ablation (LA) sample introduction into an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICPMS), this course will start with a personal early history of ICPMS, which I first “discovered” in 1983.  Shortly after, in the spring of 1984, the first ELAN 250 instrument was delivered by the Ontario company SCIEX to the National Research Council of Canada, an Ottawa, Ontario laboratory.  Just before Christmas in 1984, we installed the tenth commercially delivered instrument from SCIEX.  A few years later, in 1989, we built our first LA system for applications emphasizing the micro analysis of development of both the ICPMS and later the LA systems, and a recommendation to look for the major advance in elemental and isotopic analysis, which is long overdue. 

A discussion will follow concerning the ICPMS, which is a fundamental component of a complete (LA-ICPMS) system, including most importantly the detectors, system settling times, and the operator choices of data acquisition parameters.  Understanding of these components of the ICPMS are essential for data interpretation, the production of quality results, as well as assisting a buyer in choosing among available commercial instruments, noting that some special considerations should be made when purchasing an ICPMS for LA applications.  Details of LA systems in general, with a special detailed discussion on choices of lasers, laser induced elemental fractionation, and analytical detection limits will be included.

Practical Aspects of Trapped Ion Mass Spectrometry: Theory and Instrumentation. Instructor: Raymond E. March, Trent University, Peterborough, ON (rmarch1@cogeco.ca)

Introduction.  In the movie Ben-Hur, an exciting race between horse-drawn chariots is held within the confines of a somewhat elliptical Roman arena.  The race consisted of ten complete circuits of the arena, and the progress of the race was indicated on a scoreboard.  As each circuit was completed, a fish-like marker was swung down to record the progress of the race, much like a scoreboard for a hockey game.  Several such arenas exist to this day.  The advantages of an arena race, as opposed to a linear flow along a runway, is that observation of the runners is prolonged and the motion of each participant can be detected throughout the race.  The concept of prolonged ion confinement with continuous observation has been recognised for some decades in the mass spectrometry field; several forms of ion-trapping devices have been developed.  An interesting outcome of ion confinement has been the observation of high mass resolution.  When resolution is defined as the ratio of the mass m of an ion to the half-height width Δm of the ion peak, mass resolution to 107 is now achievable.  

Course outline.

  • The nature of the atom; review of the discovery of the Leclanché cell; Töpler air pump; active nitrogen; electron, proton, neutron, and isotopes (radioactive and stable); argon, neon, krypton, and xenon; and the glow of the night sky.
  • Review of the researches of J.J. Thomson and his student F.W. Aston, and their early mass spectrographs.
  • Flow systems and concatenated tandem mass spectrometers.
  • Origins of ion confinement devices; space charge trapping; quadrupole ion trap; ion cyclotron resonance cell; and Orbitrap.
  • Applications: Rosetta project 2014; high mass resolution in SolariX XR Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer; isotopic fine structure; electrospray ionization and MALDI (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization). 

Risk Assessments on Nanomaterials. Instructor: Petra Krystek (Vrije University (VU) Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, petra.krystek@vu.nl)

This course will provide an overview about the role of analytical techniques (especially inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) and complementary techniques) in the characterization of (engineered) nanomaterials, the analysis of (contact) matrices from human exposure scenarios to nanoproducts as well as in assessments regarding occupational exposure.

The stepwise procedures from sampling, sample pre-treatment and measurements by ICPMS will be discussed while aspects of validation and quality control will be involved too. In these cases, ICPMS is used for elemental identification and quantification. The possibilities by single particle (sp) ICPMS will be shown as well.

The knowledge on exposure and possible toxicity of nanotechnological products is growing but still limited, resulting in a great relevance of human risk assessments while external exposure can occur by inhalation, ingestion, injection and/or skin contact. In addition, internal exposure (e.g (bio)distribution) is of concern too. For answering all these questions, integrated approaches based on the use of ICPMS including hyphenation to e.g. asymmetric flow field flow fractionation (AF4) and other complementary techniques are needed. An overview about the selection criteria of matrices and analytical procedures by ICPMS will be given. Examples with e.g. body fluids, saliva, tissues (organs) and skin will be discussed more closely.

The course will be given as interactive training; on request, aspects like e.g. environmental assessments or exposure models can be touched too.

Microwave Digestion Instructor: H.M. (Skip) Kingston (Duquesne University, USA, kingston@duq.edu),with contributions from James Henderson, PhD Candidate and Matt Pamuku, CEO Applied Isotope Technologies.

This course starts with the fundamental theoretical and scientific basis for microwave-enhanced chemistry and direct energy induction and then reviews selected international standard applications involving microwave sample preparation. This is followed by in-depth practical applications, including closed vessel elevated temperature and pressure acid dissolution for elemental analysis, closed vessel solvent extraction for elemental speciation, ultratrace elemental analysis, and species analysis. Priority (persistent) organic pollutants or POPs are reviewed as standard methods for these analytes. Specific sample preparation and application for ICP-MS and GC-MS and ESI-TOF-MS (ESI-QQQ-MS, ESI-TRAP, Nano-ESI-MS) and other mass spectrometric analyses are discussed. The course covers fundamental and non-intuitive relationships among analyte recovery,power, reagent temperature, temperature control and feedback control, pressure, matrices and chemical compatibility. US EPA methods 3052, 3200, 3051a, 3015a, 3546, 3030K, 6800, and others methods developed for EPA (RCRA SW-846, and other programs), ASTM, NCCLS, SEMI and other standards organizations are also overviewed. Microwave-enhanced equilibration for speciation extraction is becoming very popular. Elemental and molecular species are now required and recommended internationally as speciation regulations are introduced replacing elemental regulations.

Microwave sample preparation examples for many analytes in a wide variety of matrices, such as soils, sediments, water, tissues, foods, blood, urine and combination of these samples types are reviewed. In addition, the discussions will include Clean Chemistry and ultratrace analysis by lowering the analytical blank though microwave methods. Safety considerations in laboratory microwave-enhanced sample preparation and analysis are stressed.

Questions and individual samples of interest will be solicited and discussed based on the interest of the attendees

Prof. Kingston’s contributions to Enhanced Microwave Chemistry:

Prof. Skip Kingston’s early work in “enhanced microwave chemistry” and his textbook (Microwave-Enhanced Chemistry, Fundamentals, Sample Preparation and Applications, Kingston and Haswell 1997, ACS Washington DC.) on the subject matter are considered seminal knowledge in the field. His authorship and leadership led to creation of the popular US EPA methods for enhanced microwave chemistry (3052, 6800, 3015, 3051 and others) and his numerous publications have been globally recognized as the foundational framework for this indispensable tool in the analytical laboratory. His pioneering work in several fields earned him 3 R&D-100 awards, one of which is for enhanced microwave chemistry.