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GeoHistory Facility Laser Ablation ICPMS

The GeoHistory Facility (GHF) specialises in laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS). This technique is commonly applied to research into the trace element composition of solid materials including rock forming minerals, fused rock powder, glasses, inclusions, archaeological artefacts, ceramics, plastics, and biological materials like otoliths, teeth, bones, shells. We also apply LA-ICPMS to in situ dating of a variety of minerals (geochronology), isotopic analysis, 2D elemental mapping, and the determination of mineral-melt partition coefficients.

The instruments are located in a modern, purpose-built space where we provide collaborative and commercial access to academia, government and industry. We specialise in single (ablated material sent to a single mass spectrometer for analysis) and split stream analysis (ablated material split between two or more mass spectrometers for multiple, simultaneous analysis).

The GHF houses state-of-the-art LA-ICPMS equipment including:

  • Two RESOlution 193 excimer lasers;
  • Nu Plasma II multi-collector for single or split stream analysis;
  • Agilent 8900 QQQ for isotopic and elemental analysis in single or split stream mode;
  • Agilent 7700s quadrupole mass spectrometer for isotopic and elemental analysis in single or split stream mode.

Example Applications

  • In situ geochronology (e.g. U-Pb), isotopic and elemental analyses of solid and solution samples
  • Automated ablation of large numbers of samples (up to 750 unknowns in one day)
  • Trace element characterization and 2-D trace element/age mapping
  • High-spatial resolution (4 um) linear or curvilnear linescans (rotating slit)
  • Flexible mounting capability (thin section, epoxy rounds or irregular shapes)
  • Offline point location and ablation sequencing
  • Software coordination and overlay of optical, SEM, CL images
  • Direct ablation of targets identified by TIMA analysis using a custom-built cell that is transferrable between TIMA and laser chamber
  • Import and registration of X-Y coordinates from external sources