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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, meteorites, ceramics, plastics, and biological materials like otoliths, teeth, bones, and 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 co-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 193nm excimer lasers
  • Nu Plasma III multi-collector
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Neoma® collision/reaction cell multi-collector mass spectrometer
  • Agilent 8900 QQQ ICP-MS/MS mass spectrometer
  • Agilent 7900s quadrupole mass spectrometer

Example applications

  • In situ geochronology (e.g. U-Th-Pb, Sm-Nd, Lu-Hf, Rb-Sr), isotopic and elemental analyses of solid samples
  • Automated ablation of large numbers of samples (up to 400 unknowns in one day depending on application)
  • Trace element characterisation and 2D trace element/age mapping
  • High-spatial resolution (4 um) linear or curvilinear line scans (rotating slit)
  • Flexible mounting capability (thin section, epoxy rounds or irregular shapes)
  • Possibility to overlay optical, SEM, or CL images to facilitate point setting
  • Direct ablation of targets identified by TIMA using a custom-built laser cell that is transferrable between TIMA and laser chamber