How does it work?

LA: Laser Ablation


A powerful laser beam (ArF Excimer 193 nm) is focused onto the sample and a small amount of material is transformed into an aerosol (ablated).
The ablated material is then swept away by carrier gas ( He) and transported into the...

ICP: Inductively Coupled Plasma

ICP Torch

Gas (Ar + He carrier gas) is electrically heated to a high temperature (>6000 K) plasma . Ablated aerosols entering the plasma are ionized (stripped of electrons) and focused through a series of apertures and lenses into the...

MS: Mass Spectrometer


Ions enter into an electric field generated by a quadrupole and are sorted by their mass/charge (m/z). The quadrupole mass analyzer has no hysteresis (like magnetic sector mass spectrometers), and is able to rapidly scan over large m/z range.


Quick Link: User schedule

The newest addition to our geochemical analytical facility is an LA-ICP-MS system consisting of a detachable Photon Machines Analyte.193 ultra-short pulse excimer laser ablation (LA) workstation and a Bruker 820-MS inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). This integrated system is capable of rapid in situ microanalyses of solid materials with trace element detection limits better than ~0.1 ppm. The ICP-MS system itself can achieve sub-ppb detection limits in solution mode and is fitted with a Collision Reaction Interface (CRI) to reduce mass interferences.


Laser workstation


These instruments and supporting equipment were gifted to the Earth & Environmental Science Department by the generous alumnus F. Dale Corman ('72).

Laboratory Policies and Procedures (pdf)


• This facility is available for use by all Rensselaer faculty, staff, and students as well as external academic and industry collaborators and researchers.

• Non-Rensselaer users generally will only be able to access the facilities and instrumentation during regular business hours (M-F 8am-5pm) unless pre-approved for after-hours work by the Laboratory Manager.

Pricing Structure for FY 2011 and FY 2012 (rates subject to change without notice):

Academic Users:
Minimum Daily Rate: $100 (includes first hour)
Trained Users: $50/hour after MDR
Operational Assist: + $25/hour

$50/sample after MDR for analyses by Lab Manager

Non-Academic Users:
Minimum Daily Rate: $300 (includes first hour)
Trained Users: $150/hour after MDR
Operational Assist: +$50/hour

$150/sample after MDR for analyses by Lab Manager

If you would like to use our facility, please fill out the authorization form and return it to the Lab Manager, Dr. Jared Singer:

User Authorization Form


• Users must receive proper training before being permitted access to the equipment. Training is provided by the Laboratory Manager.

• Untrained users may use the equipment if assisted by the Laboratory Manager (Additional fee applies).

• Unsupervised use of equipment by advanced users is permitted pending approval of the Laboratory Manager and passing a written exam based on the in-house ‘User Guide’.


• Advanced reservations are required prior to instrument usage. Times are reserved by contacting the Laboratory Manager. The user-schedule calendar is available below.

• Three time slots are available for any given day:
Slot 1: 0900 – 1300 (1 pm)
Slot 2: 1300 – 1700 (5 pm)
Slot 3: 1700 – 0900 (the following morning)

• Cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance or a $200.00 cancellation fee will be charged.

• Users shall have a grace period of 30 minutes from the scheduled start time to use the equipment. Failure to begin usage after 30 minutes will result in a forfeited timeslot and a $200.00 cancellation charge.

• Users may request more than one time slot, but use must start at the beginning of Slot 1 (0900), 2 (1300), or 3 (1700) in order to avoid a forfeited reservation and cancellation fee.

Cleaning Up

• Users are responsible for keeping the equipment areas safe and clean. Failure to do so will result in loss of usage privileges.

• Users are responsible for removing samples from the instrument. Samples should also either be stored outside BC07A (in the sample preparation area) or removed from the lab entirely when not in use.


• Users must fill out a User-Authorization Form and submit it to the Laboratory Manager for approval prior to equipment use unless otherwise instructed.

If you would like to use our facility, please contact the Lab Manager, Dr. Jared Singer.

Supporting Facilities:








Contact Dr. Jared Singer (Ph: 518.276.4095) to sign up for ICP-MS time: