Suchen Impressum Kontakt & Lageplan UnivIS Startseite
Letzte Änderung



The ICP-MS Lab

The ICPMS Lab Kiel is dedicated to trace and ultra-trace element analysis of all varieties of geological, marine, and environmental samples. R/D cooperation with industry companies and other academic institutions also includes analysis of high-purity materials, biological and medical samples.

Today, two quadrupole-based and 1 sector-field ICP-MS instruments with numerous accessories for alternate sample introduction (laser ablation, desolvating micro-nebulizers, on-line matrix separation etc.) are routinely used. Analytical facilities include clean lab infrastructure for sample preparation and modern simultaneous ICP-OES, F-AAS and ZET-AAS instrumentation. Available within the department are other complementary analytical techniques like XRF, XRD, electron microprobe, SEM etc.

We offer a one-week short course focussing on fundamentals and instrumentation of ICP-MS with examples of applications (not only) in the field of geosciences.

History of the ICP-MS Lab


The ICPMS Lab was implemented in 1985 as one of the very first ICP-MS installations in Europe. Starting with a VG Instruments PlasmaQuad 1 methods were developed for the simultaneous routine analysis of up to 47 trace elements in rocks, manganese crusts and sulfidic ores, seawater and hydrothermal fluids. This instrument was subsequently upgraded and was still in use until 2006. Also in 1985, a Nd:YAG solid state laser ablation system operating at 1064 nm (VG LaserLab 1) was successfully used for the analysis of manganese nodules, zircons, and for bulk analysis of rock powders.


The quadrupole-based PQ 1 was complemented by a high-resolution sector field ICP-MS with >10.000 RP: the second generation VG Elemental/ Micromass PlasmaTrace 2. Very low detection limits and high resolution power of this instrument makes it very useful for the detection of ultra-trace elements (e.g., PGE’s, REE in groundwater, 230Th and other radionuclides etc.) and the analysis of samples with “difficult” matrices (seawater/ brines, medical samples). 

At that time the IR laser was replaced by a 266 nm UV laser ablation system: VG UVMicroProbe.


A steadily growing request for analyses and growing application fields led to the installation of a modern Agilent 7500c quadrupole instrument taking over most applications from the PQ1. This instrument was later upgraded to a Agilent 7500cs. The implemented Octopole Reaction System allows the ultra-trace analysis of formerly "difficult" elements like Fe, As, Se etc.. 


A new simultaneous ICP-OES instrument  - SPECTRO CirosCCD SOP - with radial plasma observationwas installed allowing the analysis of minor and major components in rocks and fluid samples. This instrument is also very successfully used for the ultra-precise determination of elemental ratios like Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca in biogenic carbonate and seawater, with errors routinely < 0,1 % RSD.


Installation of the 193nm Excimer Laser-Ablation system " GeoLas Pro" (Lambda Physik/ Coherent/ CETAC) continues our long-standing experience in direct microanalysis of solid materials with sub-micrometer depth resolution and detection limits in the ppb-range.  


second Agilent 7500s instrument is now permanently coupled to the GeoLas Pro 193nm laser ablation system providing a-stand-alone workplace for in situ-microanalytical studies. A new large volume ablation cell is routinely used that allows the analysis of numerous polished specimen (up to 6 circular (1" diameter) or 4 standard microscopy glass slides) + up to 6 standards during one session without re-opening the cell.