School of GeoSciences


The Varian Vista Pro ICP-OES



This facility, a Varian Vista Pro instrument with axial view, is located in the Grant Institute, with an associated trace-metal clean laboratory for sample preparation. It is continuously maintained by qualified staff. Recently, an APEX-E sample introduction system has become available, which improves the detection limit by factor 5-10 for a range of elements, and which enables us to analyse smallest sample sizes.

A microwave digestion unit (CEM Mars XPress) with microwave-assisted evaporation system has recently become available (May 2011). This system can digest a wide range of environmental samples in a closed system, allowing the evaporation of acids after digestion in a safe and rapid manner without the risk of contaminating or oxidising the analytes, as often given in a hotplate evaporation. The system is configured to prepare 24 solid samples for ICP analysis in one day, including digestion, evaporation and subsequent dilution for the ICP. The digestion method, which allows rapid processing of high-resolution marine sediment cores, has been described in Martinez-Garcia et al. (2009)

The main applications of this instrument are studies on marine sediments and sea water in the context of past and present global change. Our analytical capabilities comprise the precise determination of Mg/Ca ratios for the reconstruction of past ocean temperatures from the shells of foraminifera, the determination of trace elements in diatom frustules for the reconstruction of biogeochemical cycles, the chemical composition of coral skeletons as high-resolution climate proxy, or the bulk composition of marine sediments as a recorder of past environmental conditions. External users are welcome.

Access and Charges

Please contact Dr Laetitia Pichevin for enquiries (Laetitia Users will be charged on the basis of their time spent on the instrument in full hours (at least 2 required).

The ICP-OES Technical Request form can be found here.