The Elemental Analysis Platform houses specialist instrumentation providing quantitative and qualitative elemental analysis on a wide range of solid and liquid samples.

Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES)

An Agilent Vista Pro is used for the detection of metals. ICP-AES is a type of emission spectroscopy that uses inductively coupled plasma to produce excited atoms and ions that emit electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths characteristic of a particular element. The intensity of the emission is indicative of the concentration of the element.

ICP-AES is the routine method for elemental analysis, with 3-4 minutes analysis time per sample. Limits of detection are approximately 1 ug/kg.

CHN Analyser

The Exeter CE440 CHN analyser is used for the microanalysis of samples by flash combustion. It is capable of analysing microgram levels of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen in a range of different sample matrices. Most commonly used for solid samples (typically sediment and soil), it is also capable of analysing filter and volatile liquid samples.

Total Organic Carbon/Total Nitrogen (TOC/TN)

Two Skalar Formacs TOC/TN instruments (CA15 and CA16) are used for the determination of carbon and nitrogen in liquid samples. Analysis includes total carbon, total organic carbon, total inorganic carbon, non purgeable organic carbon and total nitrogen using high temperature combustion. Both freshwater and sea water samples can be analysed.

Continuous Flow Analyser for Nutrient Analysis

The Skalar San++ Auto Analyser is used for the analysis of silicate, phosphorous (total, dissolved and particulate), ammonia, nitrate and nitrite (with TON by the difference method). Common sample types are seawater and freshwater, and the instrument is capable of analysing extracts from solid and slurry samples.

Ion Chromatograpy (IC)

The ICS2000 is used for quantitative analysis of anions in fresh water using suppressed conductivity. Anions currently analysed are chloride, sulphate, nitrate, bromide, and phosphate, but the instrument is capable of analysing many more ions using different columns.

The ICS5000 is used for simultaneous analysis of anions and cations in fresh water using suppressed conductivity. The anions currently analysed are chloride, sulphate, nitrate, bromide, phosphate and the cations commonly analysed are sodium, ammonium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

A Dionex Ultimate 3000 HPLC system can be used for a wide range of separations and analyses in liquid samples. The system is set up to use a photo diode array detector but can be reconfigured to use a fluorescence detector and a fraction collector.

Gas Chromatography (GC)

A Perkin Elmer 500 GC Headspace can be used for the determination of a range of greenhouse gases in gas samples. An Agilent 7820A with Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) can be used to analyse a range of organic compounds in a gas stream.


All enquiries are welcome and should initially be addressed to Antony Hinchliffe, Instrument Platform Manager:

Academic Lead: Dr Gill Malin

Support Lead: Graham Chilvers