Acquisition of a high resolution ICP-MS for environmental research and training in Maine

Principal Investigators: Karl Kreutz, Paul Mayewski, Steve Norton, Mark Wells

This award provides support to significantly enhance the elemental and isotopic analysis capabilities at the University of Maine through the acquisition of a high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS). The HR-ICP-MS will enable environmental scientists and students at UMaine, as well as other educational institutions and state agencies, to substantially broaden their interdisciplinary research interests far beyond the current possibilities. Specifically, a state-of-the-art HR-ICP-MS will enable the PIs to: 1) Dramatically expand our element concentration and element ratio analysis capabilities in aqueous matrices. Existing UMaine research strengths in Quaternary science, environmental geochemistry, and marine biogeochemistry rely upon accurate elemental determinations at part-per-trillion and part-per-quadrillion levels. Each of these programs requires the sensitivity and low detection limits offered by HR-ICP-MS to perform multi-elemental analyses without time-consuming pre-concentration protocols; and 2) Perform rapid and highly precise elemental isotope ratio determinations, or constrain isotope ratios sufficiently for primary processes to be inferred. Isotope measurements made with the HR-ICP-MS will be immediately used in several ongoing projects investigating pollutant source and transport, biogeochemical processes, and climate variability. We will develop a HR-ICP-MS Facility in the Sawyer Environmental Research Center at UMaine for use as a regional resource. We plan to acquire a Finnigan ELEMENT2, the only commercially available high resolution single collector ICP-MS. In addition to its primary research focus, the HR-ICP-MS will be used in a range of undergraduate and graduate programs at UMaine. Integration of research and education will occur through graduate theses, undergraduate courses, and independent undergraduate research projects under the Honors Program and Capstone Experience program.

undergraduate research projects under the Honors Program and Capstone Experience program.