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Geological Laser Ablation Mapping

All-Element Laser Ablation Mapping for Geological Materials


Geological Laser Ablation Mapping

Laser ablation imaging of geological materials provides information on the spatial distribution of elements and isotopes in a sample at high resolution (depending on laser hardware used). Current low-dispersion ablation cells reach signal wash-out times of ~1 ms, allowing for imaging at several hundred Hertz (x 100 pixels per second). These extremely short signal pulses can only be time-resolved with very fast mass spectrometers, of which only TOFMS offers the ability to measure the whole mass spectrum.

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 imaging. A live preview of the image during analysis allows to immediately assess image quality and any issues in experiment setup or parameters. The workflow allows for the acquisition of multiple areas of interest, standards, and blanks. 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 (Iolite, HDIP, LADR, amongst others).


  • All-Element Laser Ablation Mapping for Geological Materials With the icpTOF

    • High sensitivity from major to trace elements
    • High time resolution for fast image acquisition
    • Linear signal response for quantitative imaging
    • Full spectrum acquisition for complex multi-elemental studies
    • Notch filter for attenuation of abundant matrix ions
    • 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.

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