Trace Element Analysis
The Trace Element Analysis (TEA) laboratory specializes in low-level trace metal analysis and speciation in environmental and biological samples. We use inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for metals analysis and several hyphenated techniques that couple instruments together for speciation analyses of water, soil and biological tissue samples.
The lab has three ICP-MS instruments (Agilent 7700x, Agilent 7500cx, and Element 2 ICP-MS). We can measure most elements in the periodic table with detection limits in the low ppt range or below.
Our ICP-MS instruments can also be coupled with cold vapor generation, liquid and liquid chromatography and laser ablation. With these hyphenated analyses we can
- Detect ultra-low levels of arsenic or mercury (< 10 ng/L for arsenic and < 0.02 ng/L for methylmercury)
- Differentiate between toxic and nontoxic forms, or species, of arsenic and mercury
- Map trace elements within a biological tissue
We are interested in new methods and new applications for hyphenated analyses such as determination of arsenic species in food using chromatography coupled to ICP-MS and mercury binding to nanoparticles using field flow fractionation-ICP-MS and single particles counting-ICP-MS.
The TEA lab supports Dartmouth College researchers in the Superfund Research Program: Sources and Protracted Effects of Early Life Exposure to Arsenic and Mercury and the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center at Dartmouth.
The TEA lab also works with other researchers outside Dartmouth on a fee-for-service basis.