LA-ICP-MS Laboratory

The LA-ICP-MS (“Laser Ablation – Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry”) is a sensitive analytical method for rapid multi-element analysis of solid materials and technical products at trace and ultra-trace level.

The investigated sample material is ablated by a focused laser beam and transported by a carrier gas (argon or helium) into the inductively coupled plasma ion source of an ICP-MS. The small sample particles are atomized and positively ionized at about 8000 °C hot plasma, accelerated and transported into the high vacuum of the mass spectrometer. There they are separated according to their mass/charge and energy/charge ratio prior to time resolved detection.
The resulting laser craters are only a few µm wide, therefore this minimal invasive method is suitable for valuable materials (e.g., archeological artifacts, gemstones). At the laboratory of the Institute for Geosciences (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz), the LA-ICP-MS method is applied since 2004 for the characterization of samples with respect to their trace element composition related to geology, mineralogy, climate research, materials sciences, gemstone research, and archaeology. Additionally, this method is applied for isotope analysis (e.g., U-Pb dating of zircon).

The diversity of analyzed materials and research questions, investigated by internal and external collaboration partners, is reflected in the publications issued by international, peer-reviewed journals since 2006. 





UP213 (New Wave)                 NWR 193 (ESI New Wave)          ICP-Massenspektrometer

Nd: YAG Feststoff-Laser            ArF Excimer Laser                       Agilent 7500ce
213 nm wavelength                   193 nm wavelength                      Quadrupol mass spectrometer
crater sizes 2-100 µm                crater sizes 1- 150 µm                 with reaction cell (He, H2)
Large Format Cell                     Two volume cell TwoVol2
(15 cm x 15 cm x 2 cm)              (10 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm)



Sample Preparation


Buehler IsoMet Low speed saw                                  Leica S8 APO Stereozoom