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Element Analysis for Economic Geology

Element Analysis Using Laser Ablation ICP-MS for Mineral Resource Evaluation


Element Analysis for Economic Evaluation of Mineral Resources

In exploration and mining operations, mineral resources need to be evaluated for their yield of the resource of interest, as well as for contaminants that might affect the extraction and production process. LA-ICP-TOF-MS offers fast and robust, full-elemental information, either on single-spot analyses or optionally with high spatial resolution (line and image scans). Elemental maps have proven to be extremely valuable as they provide a rapid visualization concentrations patterns within the sample. TOFMS offers the unique capability of measuring all elements at the same time, thus providing information not only on elements of interest known prior to analysis, but on the whole sample content.

TOFWERK’s icpTOF, coupled to state-of-the-art laser ablation systems, offers convenient systems integration and control software (TOFpilot) with dedicated user workflows for instrument tuning and laser ablation analysis. A live preview of the laser image during analysis allows to immediately assess image quality and any issues in experiment setup or parameters. Output data files are in the open HDF5 file format, conveniently containing all analysis and metadata, and are compatible with major LA-ICP-MS software packages.


  • Laser Ablation Element Mapping with the icpTOF

    • High sensitivity from major to trace elements
    • High time resolution for fast data acquisition
    • Linear signal response for quantitative analyses
    • Full spectrum acquisition for complex multi-elemental studies
    • Dedicated workflow for laser ablation imaging in TOFpilot with live preview

    What is Laser Ablation ICP-MS Imaging?

    Laser ablation image Mn module

    Laser ablation map of a “Mn nodule” (polymetallic concretion). Image acquired at 5 µm spatial resolution at 100 Hz laser repetition rate (100 pixels/second). Every pixel contains full elemental information, here a selection of maps from major elements (e.g. Fe) to trace elements (e.g. Ce) are shown.  Sample courtesy of Hans-Eike Gäbler, BGR, Hannover.

Related Instruments

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