Trace Element Analysis Services

We offer a wide spectrum of elemental analyses, from minor elements to trace elements at ultra-low levels. Samples can be analyzed in solution or in-situ, at ultra-low concentrations, in small sample sizes, and on a variety of sample types and matrices.

We offer comprehensive trace element analysis services from sample preparation and analysis to data compilation optimized for your specific research needs. 

We can also provide customized method development for challenging and non-routine trace element analyses and hands-on training for students and researchers who are interested in sample preparation techniques and instrumentation.

Trace Element Analytical Capabilities

A wide range of trace element analyses are performed on our quadrupole ICP-MS (Agilent 7700x) and high-resolution ICP-MS (Nu Instruments AttoM and Thermo Scientific Element 2). 

We can analyze the following types of sample materials* for trace elements:

  • Rocks and minerals (solution or in-situ)
  • Sediments, soils and dusts (solution)
  • Water (e.g., sea water, lake water, pore water) (solution)
  • Plant materials (solution)
  • Animal tissue (both soft tissues and mineralized bones and teeth) (solution or in-situ)
  • Foods and pharmaceuticals (solution)
  • Archaeological materials (in-situ)
  • Advanced manufacturing materials (solution or in-situ)

* Please note that PCIGR is not equipped to accept radioactive materials.

In-situ analysis for trace elements is performed by laser ablation ICP-MS.

Contacts and Costs

Contact Vivian Lai for details on instrumentation and submitting samples to PCIGR. 

Use of the instruments are charged on a per-hour rate:

  • A fixed 1.5 to 2 hours of instrument time and tech time for tuning before analysis
  • Instrument time for the duration of the analysis (blanks, standards, samples) 

For on-site users, additional charges on a per-hour instrument rate may be applied to:

  • Tech time for sample preparation, as needed
  • Tech time for helping users set up an analysis, as needed
  • Tech time for assistance and troubleshooting, as needed
  • Tech time for training novice users (minimum 3 hours), including instrument theory and practice, software usage, and discussion of the user’s analytical needs

After training, on-site users should have sufficient knowledge to take over running their own blanks, standards, samples and quality-control checks, as necessary.

Consult the Fees page for detailed analytical and sample preparation costs.

Please do not submit raw or prepared samples without first speaking to us. For users who have been briefed on how to prepare their own samples for analysis at PCIGR, review our sample preparation requirements: PCIGR Trace Element Sample Preparation Requirements [PDF]

trace element services pdf cover sheet

Download our Trace Element Analysis Services brochure [PDF]


First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Chats Two speech clouds. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. External Link An arrow entering a square. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Location Pin A map location pin. Mail An envelope. Menu Three horizontal lines indicating a menu. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.