Scientific Testing and Research Facilities

Mass Spectrometry and Laser Ablation Laboratory

Advanced imaging, chemical and mineralogical analysis

The Mass Spectrometry and Laser Ablation (MSLA) Laboratory is an advanced facility for trace element and isotopic analyses of geological, environmental, industrial and construction material. We specialise in the direct analysis of solid samples by laser ablation.


Combining the MSLA and EMX labs, we have equipment and expertise in the following:

Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs)

  • BSE, SE, CL, EDS and EBSD capabilities as well as variable pressure for analyses of uncoated samples, using our two SEMs, ZEISS EVO10MA, one with a LaB6 filament and the other with a tungsten filament

Mass Spectrometry

  • Focusing on small volume U-Th- Pb dating and trace element analyses close to the limit of detection, using our highly sensitive quadrupole ICP-MS, the PlasmaQuant MS Elite from Analytik Jena
  • For routine trace element analyses and in some cases U-Pb dating, using our robust quadrupole ICP-MS, the Agilent 7500cs
  • For precise isotopic analyses, using the NU Plasma multicollector-ICP-MS

Laser Ablation

  • We specialise in in-situ sampling of solids using spot sizes from 5 to 100 microns (with possibilities going down to 2 or up to 200µm), using the ASI RESOlution 193 nm ArF Excimer laser (coupled with the PlasmaQuant MS Elite ICP-MS) or using the ESI New-Wave 213 nm Nd:YAG laser (coupled with the Agilent 7500 ICP-MS)

For small number of samples, their preparation can be arranged using the Thin-section and Lapidary laboratory within the SEES department.

Microanalysis and Geochemistry Commercial Services brochure 1,531KB

This laboratory is part of UPGEL

UPGEL - the University of Portsmouth Geological and Environmental Laboratories - support industry and academia in solving complex earth and environment-related problems. Our strength is a multi-disciplined approach to problem solving combined with a wide range of high-quality, managed testing equipment housed in one facility. Find out more about UPGEL.

Contact Us

To find out more, please contact us. Enquiries will be received by Stephanie Lasalle (