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Trace element and isotope facility

Our trace element and isotope facility provides high precision isotope and trace metal analyses to tackle a wide range of research within geosciences, such as planetary evolution and habitability, environmental and climate change and human migration.

The trace element and isotope facility, part of The Cardiff Environmental Laboratory for Trace Element and Isotope Chemistry (CELTIC), hosts a range of equipment for low level trace metal and isotope work.

The equipment includes:

  • a Nu Plasma II Multicollector-Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) for radiogenic and stable isotope analyses
  • an Agilent 8900 triple-quad Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS)
  • Thermo Scientific ELEMENT X HR-ICP-MS (see Paleoclimate and climate systems facility for more information)
  • Excimer Laser Ablation System (Applied Spectra), which can be coupled to either the Agilent or Nu Plasma mass spectrometer for high resolution work.

The facility has two class 1000 clean rooms dedicated for low blank processing of geological samples for trace metal and isotope measurements. The facility also hosts a Analytix microwave Ethos milestone digestion system.

Spectrometer and Laster System
Agilent 8900 triple-quad Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer and Excimer Laser Ablation System

Our work:

High resolution trace metal analysis of marine carbonates

The laser coupled with the quadruple ICP-MS has key features such as the rotating slit and modifiable aperture which allow for the collection of high-resolution trace element profiles along curved paths at small to large window sizes from clams and corals.

Depth profiles of trace metals in marine carbonates

The laser coupled with the quadruple ICP-MS allows for collection of depth profile or spot analysis on microfossils to explore distribution of trace elements within a specimen.

High-precision non-traditional stable isotope measurements

We use the Nu plasma MC-ICP-MS for a range of non-traditional stable isotopes (e.g. titanium, uranium) to explore key research questions within geosciences.

Low-level radiogenic isotope measurements

We specific set-up of optimized collector configuration on the Nu plasma MC-ICP-MS (1012 ohm resistors) for low-level Nd isotope work to look variability on the crystal scale.


Dr Marc-Alban Millet

Dr Marc-Alban Millet


+44 (0)29 2087 5124