Trace Element Analysis

Resource Team

Brian P. Jackson, Ph.D., Director
Tracy Punshon, Ph.D.
Vivien Taylor, Ph.D.

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 8800, Agilent 7700cx and Element 2 ICP-MS). We can measure most elements in the periodic table with detection limits in the low ng/l range or below.

Our ICP-MS instruments can also be coupled with cold vapor generation, gas 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 the elemental imaging of biological tissues such as placenta and teeth by laser ablation-ICP-MS.

The TEA lab supports Dartmouth College researchers in the Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program, Sources and Protracted Effects of Early Life Exposure to Arsenic and Mercury and the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth.

Methods Summary

The TEA lab also works with other researchers outside Dartmouth on a fee-for-service basis.

Services & Price List

Instructions For Submitting A Sample For Analysis

Login To Submit A Sample For Analysis (Dartmouth College only)