School of GeoSciences

High-resolution ICP-MS

The high resolution mass spectrometer facility (Nu Attom) has been established in November 2014. This analytical method enables a better resolution of mass than the more frequently used quadrupole ICP-MS.

Nu Attom

This is a particularly powerful method for elements that are difficult to quantify in very low concentrations by other methods (usually due to interferences at the same mass)- typical elements are lithium, phosphorus, iron, chromium, rare earth elements, and many others. Quantification is possible for concentrations on the order of parts per trillion, and often below, depending on the sample matrix and the analyte.

HR-ICP-MS is also required for analyses of extreme isotope ratios , due to its excellent abundance sensitivity. Thorium-230 excess ( 230 Th ex ) in marine sediments, uranium isotope ratios, and lead isotope ratios are typical examples.

In addition, the instrument has capabilities to scan nearly the full mass range of the periodic table several times per second. This enables comprehensive analyses of microscopic samples, together with the attached 193 nm laser ablation facility.

If considering this type of analysis for your project, please consider that specific clean sampling techniques are essential to make full use of the physical detection limits of the instrument.

For details about clean sampling or to enquire about analyses please contact Dr Laetitia Pichevin.