Laser Ablation ICP Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)
LA-ICP-MS can be used to quickly measure trace elements and isotope ratios in a wide range of biological, geological or industrial materials. The solid material is sampled directly using a laser, either by ablating a spot (20–150 microns wide) at a particular location of interest or by ablating a line raster across the sample surface. The ICP-MS connected to the laser then ionizes the ablated material and measures the abundances of the ions. The processed data may be used to determine the age of a zircon, trace the origin of archeological artifacts or to examine growth rings of shells and otoliths.