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Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

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Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) Facilities in the USGS Energy and Minerals Mission Area

The Mineral Resources Program (MRP) within the Energy and Minerals Mission Area currently maintains and operates three ICP-MS facilities in Denver, Colorado to support on-going and future geologic research programs. In addition, the facilities are also available to other qualified government agencies looking for state-of-the-art ICP-MS analyses and method development capabilities.

  • The Solution ICP-MS laboratory contains a dedicated quadrupole ICP-MS for the analysis of a variety of sample types, including rocks, sediments, soils, sludges, biological samples and waters. Most water samples can be run directly on the ICP-MS without additional sample preparation beyond acidification and filtration. Generally, solid samples must be converted into an aqueous form through the use of an appropriate sample digestion technique. The laboratory can provide a standard digestion method or develop a customized digestion method, depending on the sample submitter's requirements.
  • The Laser Ablation ICP-MS laboratory contains a dedicated quadrupole ICP-MS and a state-of-the-art ultraviolet laser ablation system. The laser ablation system allows solid samples to be run directly without sample digestion. This technique has many advantages, including the ability to provide spatial information about elemental concentrations (qualitative or quantitative) within a sample. However, the detection capabilities can vary widely depending on the spot size of the laser beam, the sample matrix, and the availability of suitable solid standards for calibration.
  • The High Resolution ICP-MS laboratory contains a high resolution multi-collector (MC) ICP-MS and a high-resolution single collector ICP-MS. The MC-ICP-MS is capable of providing rapid and precise isotope ratio information on samples. The single collector ICP-MS can be used to perform determinations where interferences preclude the use of quadrupole ICP-MS. Both solution sampling and laser ablation sampling are available, providing a wide range of flexibility in sample analysis.
  • The Geological Reference Materials Program at the USGS provides standard reference materials in natural matrices for a variety of applications, including microbeam (in-situ) reference materials.

What is ICP-MS?
Find out more....

Photo of NewWave UP 213 Laser Ablation System.
NewWave UP213 Laser Ablation System
Photo of ELAN DRC-e Quadrupole ICP-MS.
ELAN® DRC-e Quadrupole ICP-MS


Photo of Nu Instruments MC-HR-ICP-MS.
Nu Instruments MC-HR-ICP-MS

The use of firm, trade, and brand names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. government.

Mineral Resources Program
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