Analytical Services Unit

Analytical Services Unit
Analytical Services Unit


Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer

The Analytical Services Unit currently operate a Vista Pro-axial CCD spectrometer from Agilent (formerly Varian). This instrument is used for the simultaneous determination of metals and other elements in matrices such as soil, water, plants/tissue and paint. The instrument is equipped with a SPS-5 autosampler for rapid sample throughput.

ICP-OES instrument

ICP-OES instrument at the ASU Laboratory

Selected Environmental Application Notes:

  1. Analysis of Environmental Samples with the 710-ES Following USEPA Guidelines
  2. Rapid Measurement of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in Plant and Food Material Using the Agilent 730-ES
  3. Water Analysis using ICP-OES with an Ultrasonic Nebulizer
  4. A Complete Method for Environmental Samples by Simultaneous Axially Viewed ICP-OES following USEPA Guidelines


The use of wavelength switching and the inherent sensitivity of the instrument means that samples can be analysed for components from ppb to percent levels with little or no need for dilution. Up to in excess of 30 elements can be measured in a sample within a few minutes.Sample preparation is required to get the analytes into a solution. This is often achieved by the use of strong acids.

ICP Expert I software

The instrument uses ICP Expert I software which is flexible and allows easy worksheet creation. The system when interfaced with a suitable autosampler is fully automated and can be used for after hours analysis. The after hours feature considerably increases the number of samples which can be analyzed in a day..

Screenshot of the ICP Expert I software

Screenshot of the ICP Expert I software

With CETAC Ultrasonic Nebulizer


The ASU operates a cetac ultrasonic nebulizer for water samples. With careful sample preparation, the detection limits for certain analytes can be decreased by orders of magnitude lower than with a standard pneumatic nebulizer. This attachment removes the requirement for sample concentration which is time consuming and minimizes the possibility of sample contamination.

The U5000AT+ Ultrasonic Nebulizer offers enhanced detection limits (up to 10x or greater) for ICP-AES and ICP-MS.

  • AutoTune Power Supply
  • Detection Limit improvement up to 10x or greater
  • Efficient Desolvation System
  • Optimized for Use with ICP-AES or ICP-MS
  • Stable Operation
  • Modular Design


Detection Limits
Detection limits obtained with the U5000AT+ on ICP-AES are listed below for axial ICP torch configurations. Detection limits are improved in a range of 5 to 25 times, depending upon the analyte.

U5000AT+ detection limits

The Vista Pro has a robust plasma which provides signal stability, reliability and reproducibility even with complex matrices with high concentrations of dissolved solids.