The Plasma Chemistry Laboratory at CAIS is an analytical geochemistry laboratory specializing in the analysis of trace elements and isotope ratios in biological, environmental, geological, archaeological and other materials.

The laboratory is equipped with three Thermo X-Series II ICP-MS and an Agilent HPLC-ICP-MS for the analysis of heavy metals and minor, trace, and rare earth elements. Mercury is done using the Milestone DMA-80. We have a wet-chemistry lab fitted with a digestion block, a Milestone Ethos microwave, and supplied with ultra-pure water. We also have access to a class 100/1000 Cleanroom for processing sensitive samples, upon request. Please note that we do not use HF in our digestion procedures and therefore for soils and silicates we offer a leach analysis rather than a total digestion. For further information, please see our Resources or contact us.



Sample Submission Guidelines

If you are a first-time client, please contact us before sending your samples.

1. For water samples, or if you plan to do the digestions yourself please refer to our Sample Preparation Guidelines for information on preparing the samples.

2. Label tubes clearly with a unique identifier. Close the lids tightly and seal well with parafilm. For liquids, cell pellets, or animal tissue, seal the tubes in a plastic bag with some paper towel or an absorbent pad in case of leaks (for fizzy liquids or alcohol please double-bag, with absorbent in the second bag as well). Package in a crush-proof box or container. Proteins, cell pellets, and animal tissue should be shipped frozen in an insulated box with dry ice.

3. Complete the Plasma Chemistry Laboratory Sample Submission Form, and include a printed copy in the shipment (outside of the bag for animal, cell pellet, or liquid samples). For cell pellets and animal tissue please record the sample weights on the sample submission form. If you are sending more than 10 samples, please also e-mail us an electronic copy of the sample submission form or a sample inventory.

4. Address the package to:

Attn: Plasma Chem Lab
Center for Applied Isotope Studies
120 Riverbend Rd.
Athens, GA 30602

Please note we do not receive samples on weekends or holidays so please DO NOT select any Saturday or weekend delivery options. For frozen samples, please try to time your shipment so the samples do not spend the weekend on a truck or in a warehouse (i.e., ship them on a Monday or Tuesday so they arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday).

5. Local clients may drop off samples with a completed sample submission form Monday – Friday (excluding UGA holidays) 8:30am – 4:30pm.


Analytical Fees

Normal turnaround is 2-4 weeks. 3-5 day rush service is available and will be charged 1.5X the normal rates. 1 day rush service is available for analyses that do not require digestion and will be charged 2X the normal rates. To help us prepare for your rush analyses please e-mail us a copy of your sample submission form. For training, demos, or large/ongoing projects please contact us. If you require a formal quote, we would be happy to provide one if you let us know the sample type, number of samples, type of analysis and sample preparation required, turnaround time, and what elements you need.

We accept payment by check, credit card, purchase order, or bank wire. UGA clients may also pay using their SpeedType. If you plan to pay by wire, please let us know in advance. A $25 wire fee will be added to your quote and invoice. If you plan to pay by PO and you work at a university or large company you will most likely need a formal quote before you can request a PO, which should be done before submitting samples.


Sample Prep Analytical Fees Chart
StandardInternal (USG/Emory)
Pre-processing (freeze-drying, milling, sieving, ashing), 1-5 samples$5n/a
Pre-processing (freeze-drying, milling, sieving, ashing), 6 or more samples$10$5
Digestion/leach (includes dilution), per sample
Dilution (for submitted solutions that are out of range), 1-5 samples$5
Dilution (for submitted solutions that are out of range), 6 or more samples
ICP-MS Analytical Fees Chart, per sample
Internal (USG/Emory)
One standard, 1-5 elements
One standard, 6 or more elements (includes pre-set 20-element program)$50
Additional standard, 1-5 elements
Additional standard, 6 or more elements
Laser ablation
Mercury Analytical Fees Chart, per sample
DMA, in addition to ICP-OES or ICP-MS
DMA only
Element & Standard Lists (periodic table view)

Element & Standard Lists (text view)

ICP‐MS Elements & Standards (Listed in order of Atomic Number)

  • CLMS‐2A Standard: Li, Be, Na, Mg, Al, K, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Ag, Cd, Cs, Ba, Tl, Pb, U.
  • WW‐CAL2 Standard: Li, Na, K, Ti, Mo.
  • CMS‐1 Standard: Sc, Y, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, Th, U.
  • Internal Standard: In.
  • Measurable by ICP‐MS upon request: P, S, Ge, Zr, Nb, Tc, Ru, Rh, Pd, Sn, Sb, Te, I, Hf, Ta, W, Re, Os, Ir, Pt, Au, Bi.
  • Not Recommended for ICP‐MS: B, Si, Cl, Ca, Br, Hg.
  • Not measureable by ICP‐MS: H, He, C, N, O, F, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, Pm, Po, At, Rn, Fr, Ra, Ac, Pa, Np, Pu, Am, Cm, Bk, Cf, Es, Fm, Md, No, Lr, Rf, Db, Sg, Bh, Hs, Mt, Ds, Rg, Cn, Nh, Fl, Mc, Lv, Ts, Og.