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New ICP-MS installed in DES Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory

28 Oct 2013

A multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) was newly installed at the DES Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory.

The MC-ICP-MS, a Neptune Plus from Thermo Fisher Scientific, is one of the latest generation of high-performance analytical instruments, and a revolutionary player in fields of geochemistry, geochronology, cosmochemistry, climate change and environmental monitoring, among others.

This instrument uses an inductively coupled plasma, generated by argon at a temperature > 8000oC, as the ion source. It is highly efficient to ionize sample aerosols, and significantly simplifies sample preparation, while dramatically improves the ionization efficiency. Upon entering lens systems in a flight tube, ions can be accelerated and focused in an electrostatic field under a pressure of -7 mbar. The ion beams are then guided through a magnetic sector, and separated according to their mass. Ions are finally collected by a Faraday cup or a secondary electron multiplier (SEM). The mass spectrometer is equipped with nine Faraday cups (eight are movable) and two SEMs for simultaneous isotope collection. Each SEM is coupled with an RPQ energy filter to improve abundance sensitivity, which is necessary for high-precision measurements of trace isotopes. 

Funded by Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) and National Research Foundation (NRF), this facility will support a variety of cutting-edge research in low-temperature geochemistry, and climate and environmental change, through high-precision isotope analyses, with an emphasis on isotopes of U, Th, Sr, Nd, Pb and Hg.