Analysis of metal ion impurities in liquid crystals using high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Huan Yi Hung, Chien Wei Lu, Cheng Yu Lee, Chain-Shu Hsu, You-Zung Hsieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have developed a method, using high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HR-ICP-MS), to directly analyze metal ion impurities in liquid crystals (LCs). From measurements of resistivity, a commonly used technique for quality control of liquid crystal display (LCD) cells, we found that the resistivities of the LCs decreased significantly upon progressing through the different stages of the LCD cell manufacturing process. We determined the levels of metal ion impurities in the LCs through direct loading of diluted LC samples into the HR-ICP-MS system at a steady flow rate. Solutions featuring LC contents of 10% (v/v) were formed by dissolving each LC in isopropanol (IPA) containing acetone as a modifier. We quantified the trace metal ion impurities in the LC samples using a certified standard of metal ions diluted in IPA (external calibration) without the need for digestion pretreatment. Next, we compared the levels of metal ion impurities with the resistivities of the LCs at the different stages of the LCD cell manufacturing process. We confirmed that the resistivities of the LCs decreased as the total levels of metal ion impurities in the LCs increased. The total content of metal ion impurities added into the LC was higher in the siphoning process than in the one-drop filling process during the fabrication of LCD cells. The HR-ICP-MS method could, therefore, be used to directly measure metal ion impurities in LCs during the LCD cell manufacturing process, potentially replacing resistivity measurements of LCs as a means of quality control. We suggest setting 1400 ng L -1 as the limit of the total metal ion concentration in LCs used for LCD cell manufacturing. We used the HR-ICP-MS method to analyze a stained LCD panel to confirm that the content of metal ion impurities was indeed significantly greater in the stained area of the defected LCD. HR-ICP-MS appears to be a promising technique for the direct and effective analyses of metal ion impurities in LCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3631-3637
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Methods
Volume4
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2012

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