Agilent 8900 Triple-Quadrupole ICP-MS

The workhouse of the lab is an ICP (inductively-coupled plasma) mass spectrometer. This instrument can analyze elemental abundances and ratios, and some isotope systems at extremely high precision and low detection limits. Samples are introduced either dissolved in acidic solutions or via a laser ablation system. The 8900’s QQQ tandem mass spectrometer architecture uses two sequential quadrupole mass analyzers with a collision/reaction cell in between. This ground-breaking technology allows unprecedented avoidance of tricky isobaric and polyatomic interferences by reacting either analytes or interfering ions with reactive gases (e.g. hydrogen, oxygen).

I use the 8900 to look at trace elements in small carbonate samples (mostly foraminifera from deep-sea sediments). Check out my research and publication pages for the powerful applications of foraminiferal trace elements in reconstructing ancient climate and oceanography! The instrument is also ideally suited to analyzing the concentration of trace elements at ppt levels and lower in bulk rock digests, organic material, and water. We never tire of exploring new methods, and look forward to figuring out what new capabilities QQQ technology brings to geochemistry in coming years!