ALS offers elemental and isotope testing in isotope ratio measurements using both High Resolution ICP-MS (ICP-SFMS) and Multicollector ICP-MS (MC-ICP-MS) instrumentation.
ALS offers elemental and isotope testing in isotope ratio measurements using both High Resolution ICP-MS (ICP-SFMS) and Multicollector ICP-MS (MC-ICP-MS) instrumentation. During the fall of 2013, we have introduced a second MCICP-MS system to our instrument park. The instrument, Neptune Plus, is the latest generation and allows us to offer isotope analyses at even lower concentrations and with better precision than before. By combining commercial testing with a strong focus on research, ALS Scandinavia is taking the latest in isotope testing to our commercial clients worldwide.
Historically, one of the main limitations with MC-ICP-MS instrumentation has been that high precision measurements demand relatively large sample amounts. Consequently, isotope ratio measurements on elements present at trace levels have been challenging and in many cases even impossible using MC-ICP-MS. Due to the increased sensitivity of the Neptune Plus instrument, we are now able to perform isotope ratio measurements at lower concentration levels and thus also using smaller sample amounts.
Why isotope ratio measurements?
The isotopic composition of a certain element can be used as a fingerprint providing information on the processes that the element has undergone. This is possible because isotopic compositions are naturally varying and are affected by numerous variables such as the element source, weather conditions, biological and biochemical processes or the geological age of a material. Consequently, isotope ratio measurements may be a source of valuable extra information. Frequent requests that we receive include for example:
ALS Scandinavia capabilities
ALS Scandinavia offers isotope ratio measurements by both ICPSFMS and MC-ICP-MS and as of today our instrumental park consists of 11 ICP-SFMS and two MC-ICP-MS instruments which is unique for a contract laboratory. Not only does this enable us to process large amounts of samples with short turnaround times, it also gives us a solid backup capacity. Our standard TAT is 6–10 working days for the majority of isotope systems which is typically much more rapid than university laboratories can offer. ALS Scandinavia also offers express isotope analyses and for simpler measurements we can deliver analysis results within 24 hours.
ICP-SFMS or MC-ICP-MS?
In most cases, the requirements on measurement uncertainty will determine which technique is most appropriate for a specific project. Analyses by ICP-SFMS are normally associated with an uncertainty of about 0.05–1% while MC-ICP-MS will significantly improve the precision. For applications such as 147Sm/143Nd dating which often require a precision of at least 0.002%, this will naturally be of absolute importance.