Perkin Elmer OPTIMA 7300 ICPOES Instruments

The laboratory has two 7300 ICP Optical Emission Spectrometers (installed 2009 and 2010). The 7300 has a "dual-view" capability that allows selection of axial or radial viewing modes. The axial viewing configuration improves detection limits by providing high optical throughput and better signal-to-background ratios. For the most difficult high matrix samples, the radially viewed plasma offers the benefits of robust operation with less interference. The Segmented-array, Charged-coupled-device Detector (SCD) is able to detect over 5000 emission lines from 167 to 782nm with simultaneous background measurement. The spectrometer can provide rapid, simultaneous measurement of 60 elements in less than 1 minute. Both instruments are fitted with an auto-samplers for unattended operation. Speed of analysis largely depends on precision requirement and number of analytes in the method, 2-4 minutes per sample is typical.

ICPMS and Laser Ablation ICPMS

The laboratory has one PerkinElmer quadrapole Nexion ICPMS (installed 2011) dedicated for liquid samples, and a second Nexion ICPMS integrated with an ESI-NewWave NWR213 Laser Ablation accessory (installed 2012). The LA-ICPMS is capable of sampling directly off solids using a pulsed 213 nm laser that can be focussed down to a 3 micron spot size for high-resolution, ultratrace elemental imaging and depth profiling of surfaces. Contact Rabeya Akter for more information about LA-ICPMS. Capabilities of the ICPMS include:


  • Rapid multi-element coverage
  • Semiquantitative isotopic information
  • Low detection limits
  • Wide Linear Dynamic Range
  • High sample throughput
  • Semi-quantitative, as well as quantitative analysis


Both ICPMS instruments have a "Universal Cell" that combines collision cell and reaction cell technologies to help remove polyatomic and isobaric interferences. The collision cell uses a gas to remove interferences by size descrimination, while a reaction cell introduces gasses known to react with polyatomic species. A practical example of this technology is the ability to measure analytes (such as copper) at low levels in seawaters.

DOC-LABOR Liquid Chromatography - Trace Organic Carbon Detector (LC-OCD, single column for freshwater and dual column for marine waters)

The ARC-LIEF and MREII funded LC-OCD systems are used for trace analysis of total carbon in water samples. Drinking water, or environmentally contaminated samples might be analysed using LC-OCND. The systems use size-exclusion chromatography to separate classes of dissolved organic materials (organic acids, bases and neutral species) then uses a catalysed UV oxidation to measure low levels (~100ppb) of total carbon and nitorgen in the eluent. Understanding your sample is critical to get good results and avoid damaging the size-exclusion column. You can download our LC-OCD sample guideline and publication guide by clicking on this link.

AnalytikJena NC2100S Total Carbon and Total Nitrogen Analyser

The AnalytikJena NC2100S enables trace elemental analysis of total carbon and nitrogen in water samples. The sample volume required is 10 mL, and suspensions can be analysed and stirring on the autosampler is available to ensure a representative sample is injected. The system uses an oxidation analysis to measure low levels of total carbon (~100ppb) and total nitrogen (equivalent to a Kjeldahl analysis) in a sample.

Lachat Flow Injection Analyser

The Lachat FIA can be used for high-throughput spectrophotometric analysis of a range of analytes. The system is currently fitted with three manifolds which enable analysis of ammonia in soil or seawater, and nitrate/nitrite analysis. The combination of total nitrogen analysis using the NC2100S (described above) and the FIA enables analysis for organic and inorganic nitrogen in aqueous samples.

Dionex Ion Chromatography System

The Dionex IC is a computer controlled anion exchange column with autosampler which is used for rapid separation and quantification of inorganic anions to ppm levels. Typical analytes include fluoride, chloride, bromide, nitrate, chlorate, phosphate and sulfate.

Milestone Microwave Digestion System

Microwave Digestion is a sample preparation technique for trace and ultra-trace analysis. The samples are digested in a closed vessel in a microwave oven. The vessels are made of TFM which provides the best mechanical and thermal stability at temperatures up to 200 degC and high pressure. The sealed vessel eliminates the chance of contamination and losses of more volatile metal species. The electronic controls allow very reproducible digestion conditions.

Some capabilities of the Milestone include:

  • Closed-vessel microwave digestion, eg. for analysis of volatile metals.
  • Quick and clean digestion for a broad range of samples eg. plants, soil, metal, alloys.
  • Quick solvent extraction.

Other Sample Preparation Gear: Acid Distillation Unit, Ball Mill, Centrifuge

The DuoPUR Acid Distillation Unit is a specialised distillation unit for preparing high purity nitric and hydrochloric acids suitable for trace elemental analysis.

The RETSCH ball mill is used for the pulverization of soft, fibrous, hard and brittle materials. The mill produces a very high fineness, down to the submicron range, and enables more ready digestion to produce solutions for analysis.

A centrifuge is available for separation of liquid extracts from solids or gels prior to analysis.