Metals Analysis

Metals analysis and speciation is a large focus of the Laboratory for Environmental Analysis (LEA) subunit of CAIS. The primary instrument used for this service is the Thermo X Series 2 inductively coupled {argon} plasma (ICP) equipped with a mass spectrometer (MS) detector system.

Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)


Quantitative Analysis

Simultaneous multi-element determination in a liquid sample in a single run of few minutes. The periodic table indicates in color the elements that can be determined by ICP-MS.

The mass-selective detector is extremely sensitive, quantitation levels in parts per billion (ppb) to parts per trillion (ppt). The periodic table indicates with color-coded detection limit (DL) ranges of different elements.

The detector system is relatively immune to many of the chemical and spectroscopic interferences that plague optical emission ICP systems.


TotalQuant Analysis

An analytical technique inherent to ICP-MS for semi-quantitative analysis of up to 73 elements in the periodic table in a single run.

Used to screen unknown samples before quantitative analysis


Element Speciation Analysis

Performed by passing the eluent of the ion chromatograph containing the separated ion species to the ICP-MS for quantitation using the mass of the investigated element.

Examples of recent speciation carried out involved As(III)/ As(V)/ organic arsenicals, Se(IV)/Se(VI), Cr(III)/Cr(VI).


Quality Assurance / Quality Control

Given the importance of accuracy in analysis in both research and regulatory arenas, data quality is imperative. A rigorous protocol of quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) is followed for every sample batch run for metals analysis, including re-calibration and re-zeroing, replication, individual calibration of all elements in a sample run over the concentration range of interest, and use of check standards to ensure proper calibration. With larger sample batches, sample spikes and certified reference materials (NIST or equivalent) are run to confirm recovery of analyte elements. QA/QC information is provided with every sample set for you to evaluate detection limits, precision, and overall data quality.



Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
Single element$20
Up to 6 elements$30
Up to 8 elements$35
Up to 12 elements$40
Up to 15 elements$45
If any of the above includes mercury$10
Custom analyses including metal and metalloid speciation using IC-ICP-MSContact Us
Sample Preparation
Drying and grinding (soils, rocks, plant tissue)$5
Microwave assisted nitric acid for solid samples (EPA 3052)$25
Microwave-assisted nitric acid for liquid samples (EPA 3015)$25
If hydrofluoric acid is included in the digestion medium$30
Filtration (liquid samples, 0.45 micron)$5
Other extractants (including sequential extraction)Please Inquire
Extraction of samples for organics analysisPlease Inquire