Inductively-coupled plasma spectrometry

Inductively-coupled plasma spectrometry


The combination of Inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and Inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) provides extensive capability for trace and Ultra-trace inorganic analysis in the Earth and Environmental sciences.  At SUERC, we have state-of-the-art ICP-MS (Agilent 7500ce) and ICP-OES (PE Optima 7300 DV) instrumentation.


Our approach to ICP-MS has been to seek to optimise analytical quality across a specialized portfolio of applications.  Thus, in addition to our radiogenic isotope applications, we specialise particularly in the following analyses:

  • High precision REE in geological materials and archaeological artefacts
  • Pb isotope measurements in environmental samples including in situ laszer-ablation measurements.
  • High precision U-Th concentration determinations by isotope dilution for (U,Th)-He thermochronology
  • 127I concentration determinations in environmental water samples
  • Environmental Tc analysis
  • Analysis of Al and Be in support of cosmogenic isotope analysis

Our ICP-MS capability continues to expand and, in particular, the new collision cell technology incorporated in the Agilent 7500ce promises to provide high quality analyses of elements that were traditionally considered difficult targets for conventional ICP-MS due to persistent polyatomic interferences.


ICP-OES is a relatively recent development at SUERC designed to complement existing ICP-MS capability.  Our Optima instrument incorporates a solid state multi-channel CCD detector which, together with sophisticated software and data storage, offers an extremely flexible tool for elemental analysis.


Overall. The ICP lab is equipped to offer a wide range of elemental analyses at levels from sub-ppb to per cent levels.
Our laboratory is equipped with:

  • Suite of clean rooms for low-blank sample preparation
  • Agilent 7500ce  Q-ICP-MS
  • Perkin Elmer Optima 7300 DV ICP-OES
  • Multiple-collector ICP-MS – Micromass IsoProbe-P
  • New Wave UP213 frequency quintupled Nd-YAG laser system

For more information contact Rob Ellam