Instruments and Accessories

The W.M. Keck Collaboratory for Plasma Spectrometry has five plasma spectrometers: Nu Plasma multi-collector ICP-MS, Nu Plasma 3D multi-collector ICP-MS, Two Thermo Scientific X-series 2 quadrupole ICP-MS (one dedicated to Laser ablation applications), and Spectros Arcos ICP-OES.

Sampling devices include an excimer laser (Photon Machines Analyte G2), ion chromatograph, custom-built shell-cleaning apparatus, and autosamplers.

Nu Plasma 3D MC-ICP-MS

The newest instrument to our facility, installed at the end of 2017, is equipped with 16 faraday detectors and six ion counting detectors (2 electron multipliers and 4 daly counting collectors).  In addition to an expanded collector array the Plasma 3D offers a reconfigured source that enhances instrument sensitivity and stability and improves abundance sensitivity allowing for the analysis of smaller sample sizes and expanded capability into new challenging isotope systems.

Nu Plasma MC-ICP-MS

Installed in 2002 our Nu Plasma HR remains a cornerstone of the facility for more routine isotope analyses and in-situ Sr and Pb isotope measurements when coupled with our excimer laser ablation system.

Thermo Scientific X-Series II quadruple ICP-MS

We have two of these quadruple ICP-MS instruments. Both were installed in summer 2011. One is dedicated to solution work (CCT ICP-MS) and the other to laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS).


The instrument is used for analyses across many disciplines ranging from natural waters to sediments, soils and biological material.  Samples can be introduced into the instrument using a variety of auto samplers and automated inline sequential dissolution devices.  Analyses can be performed in standard mode or configured to run utilizing collision cell capability.


The instrument is used for a diverse range of analyses including trace element studies of rocks, mineral and glasses for studies in volcanology and igneous petrology; U-Pb dating and zircons for geochronology; analysis of otoliths for fisheries applications; analysis of biomaterials for toxicology and many other uses.

Photon Machines Analyte G2 (pictured above on the right)

Installed in summer 2011 this instrument is designed for laser ablation ICP-MS analyses of a range of solid materials. Based on an ATLEX fast excimer laser system, the unit also has full (0-100%) energy attenuation, beam homogenization optics and an ANU-style two volume cell for high sensitivity and rapid response times. Laser spot sizes vary between ~5-250 µm and include circular, square and slit-shaped spots. We also have an adjustable aperture that allows for customizable slit and square-shaped spots. Sample holder options include 9 × 25 mm rounds or 3 × 25 mm rounds plus 4 × 50×25 mm thin sections. We have have a cryocell for ablation of ice and other temperature sensitive matrices.

The G2 is coupled with either the Therm XseriesII Quadrupole for trace element analyses and U-Pb dating of zircon, or with the NuPlasma MC-ICP-MS for in-situ analysis of Pb or Sr isotopes.

Spectros Arcos ICP-OES

Installed at the beginning of 2017 our Spectros Arcos remains a workhorse in the facility where it is utilized to gain insight into fields including natural waters, process waters and  zymology.  The Arcos takes advantage of recent advancements in ICP-OES technology that allows the simultaneous gathering of wavelength data in either axial or radial view with optical sensitivity extending from the VUV through the Visual portion of the light spectrum extending both dynamic range while also enabling the analysis of frequently inaccessible elements like those belonging to the halogen group.

Clean Room Space

Dedicated Class 1000 clean space is utilized for final sample dissolution, element purification and sample preparation for analysis by ICP-MS.

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