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Laser-ablation Mass Spectrometry


The LA-ICPMS laboratory is used for direct in-situ elemental and isotope-ratio analysis of solid samples. We utilise a custom-designed/built deep-UV 193 nm excimer laser-ablation system coupled to an Agilent 7500ce/cs quadrupole ICPMS (or a GV Instruments IsoProbe MC-ICPMS). The laser-ablation system was designed in close collaboration with Mike Shelley (Laurin Technic P/L, Canberra, Australia) and Resonetics LLC (Nashua, NH, USA) and is the prototype of the system now marketed as RESOlution M-50 (http://www.resonetics.com/la/). At its core, it features a Laurin two-volume laser-ablation cell characterized by both fast signal washout and uniform signal characteristics anywhere in the cell.

The system is extremely versatile, fully computer-controlled and easy to use even for beginners, since all is controlled by an intuitive image-directed software (Geostar). The large primary excimer laser beam in conjunction with aperture-imaging optics and a long working distance lens allows the use of a large range of round spot sizes from ~7 – 300 µm. Moreover, this includes a rotating adjustable rectangular slit that is especially useful for layered samples where the highest-spatial resolution along a growth axis has to be maintained without loss of element detection capability. X Y stage travel is 50 x 50 mm.

We also have a unique cryo-sample holder (developed in collaboration with Laurin Technic) for the analysis of frozen samples, which is currently used for elemental analysis of frozen Greenland ice core samples at unprecedented spatial resolution.

A selection of current applications include (but are not restricted to) elemental and isotopic analysis of biogenic carbonates (corals, mollusks, foraminifera, belemnites), speleothems, teeth, tephra, tectonic carbonates, diamonds, hair, silicate minerals and melt inclusions, U-Pb dating of zircons. We have many external users who use our laboratory on a collaborative basis. Please contact us if interested.

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