What we measure
The main application of the mass spectrometer is the analysis of element concentrations in a wide range of materials. Samples can be analyses as solutions (e.g. water samples or rocks after acid-dissolution). Alternatively, a femtosecond laser ablation system can be coupled to the Q-ICP-MS for in-situ micro scale concentration analysis of solid samples.
Access to the lab
Nearly all work conducted in the GFZ HELGES lab falls into one of two categories: (1) approved collaborative projects that will lead to publications in international scientific journals, and (2) research projects within the GFZ Earth Surface Geochemistry group, including development and improvement of analytical methods. All scientists wishing to use our facility or request sample analyses must submit an analysis application form. Because our laboratory space and staff capacities are limited, we need to evaluate your application in an internal review process, and therefore kindly ask you to fill the application form and provide us with further information about the project, samples and analyses. Please send the application form to the indicated lab contact person. We will evaluate your application and make a decision. Please note that we are specialized in the above mentioned isotope systems and we are not a geochronology laboratory.
Application form and terms of conditions:
Application for Isotope Ratio
Application for Cosmogenic Nuclide
Terms of conditions
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a versatile method for fast concentration analysis. A sample aerosol is introduced into the inductively coupled plasma (ICP), were all elements are atomised, ionised. Transferred into vacuum, then the isotopes of each element are separated by the quadrupole mass analyser and detected by a secondary electron multiplier (SEM). A variety of sample introduction systems is available, e.g. solution aspiration into a spraychamber or direct analysis of solids by laser ablation.
With Q-ICP-MS most elements can be quantified with uncertainties typically less than 10 % relative. Detection limits vary, generally in the ppt to ppb range in solution, and >ppm range with laser ablation on solids. The iCAP-Qc ICP-MS is equipped with a collision reaction cell to minimise interferences caused by molecule formation in the plasma (e.g., 14N2+ on 28Si+) and improves accuracy and detection limits on interference-prone isotopes. A metal free clean lab with filtered air laminar flow workstations is available for preparation of liquid and solid samples (e.g., acid dissolution, element separation). Here, low concentration samples can be prepared for analysis avoiding contamination.