Environmental Chemistry Research Group

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry or ICP-MS is an analytical technique used for elemental determinations. An ICP-MS combines a high-temperature ICP source with a mass spectrometer. The ICP source converts the atoms of the elements in the sample to ions. These ions are then separated and detected by the quadruple mass spectrometer.

sample Injection


ICP Torch

Sample Aerosol

Ion Optics

Sampling Interface

RF Coil


Mass Analyzer

quadrapole rods

Ion Detector

ICP-MS has many advantages over other elemental analysis techniques such as atomic absorption and optical emission spectrometry (AAS, AES), including: lower detection limits, higher throughput, ability to handle both simple and complex matrices with a minimum of matrix interferences, and more importantly, in our research, obtain isotopic information.

In our work, ICP-MS is heavily used for elemental analysis in dissolution studies, in particular dissolved Fe analysis. We have access to a Agilent 7900 ICP-MS located in Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources at NMT. This is coupled to a ASX-500 auto sampler to enhance the efficiency and easiness of operation.

This features with higher matrix tolerance, wider dynamic range and better signal to noise than many other ICP-MS systems. Better trace level detection—novel interface design and optimized expansion-stage vacuum system increase ion transmission, providing >109cps/ppm sensitivity at <2% CeO, while the ODS provides increased gain and reduced background for improved signal to noise.



Assistant Professor of Chemistry

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Department of Chemistry

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

Bethany Jessen

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Department of Chemistry

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

Phone: 575-835-5129

Fax: 575-835-5215

Phone: 575-835-5263

Fax: 575-835-5364

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