ICP-MS & Laser Ablation Lab

The department’s Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) Lab is primarily dedicated to high-precision trace element analyses of volcanic rocks and marine sediments, both as solid samples by laser ablation and by conventional dissolution. The lab features a VG Plasma Quad ExCell ICP-MS equipped with a Merchantek LUV213 Laser Ablation (LA-ICP-MS) system allowing samples to be measured in both solution and solid form.

The ExCell is an ICP-quadrupole mass spectrometer, which includes an off-axis lens system which has decreased instrument backgrounds to < 0.5 cps. With this ultra-sensitive ICP-MS, routine precision in solution is 1–2% RSD for most trace elements. When analyzing aqueous solutions, our detection limits are generally better than 1 part per trillion.

Laser ablation spot sizes range from 5 to >300 microns, and are obtained while drilling or rastering across features. Detection limits when analyzing solid materials via laser ablation are approximately 10 parts per billion depending on spot size. Techniques have been developed on the laser ablation system for analyzing volcanic glasses, silicate crystals, and melt inclusions.

Current user fee structure

If you are interested in using these facilities, please contact laboratory manager Dr. Tom Ireland.