College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

The Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy Facility

The ICP Unit at the Facility

What is an ICP?

An ICP uses a high temperature Argon plasma to analyze element concentrations in liquid solutions. The CNR ICP is an optical emission (OES) system and uses the light emission from the high temperature excitation of the atoms to determine their concentration. Applications include plant elemental analysis, soil extracts, silicon chip analysis, nanoparticles, rock fusions to name just a few. Here is a list of usable elements.


College of Natural Resources
123A Hilgard Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-3110
Campus Map


Perkin Elmer 5300 DV optical emission ICP with auto sampler. The ICP has a standard nebulizer system. For certain applications a flow injection system with hydride generation ability, and an ultrasonic nebulizer for enhanced detection limits are available.

Recharge rate: University of California and LBNL users will be charged at a flat rate of $58 per hour while the plasma is on. In order to use the facility, the user must fill out a form with a PI and valid account UC account number or LBNL account.

Capability and Throughput: The ICP can measure up to at least 21 different elements simultaneously. Users should estimate between 6 and 12 samples per hour plus a half hour warm up of the instrument. 

Detection Limits (table): This is three times the standard deviation of the noise, so in practice sample concentrations should be three times this for useful precision.

Availability & Use

The ICP is available for use by all graduate students, staff and faculty within the University of California system and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Contact Wembo Yang for a half-hour meeting to discuss your ICP application. If your application is feasible with the facility's instrument then the user and Paul Brooks will reserve a day on the ICP for initial training and method development. The user will bring in their samples and standards they have made up from the facility stock solutions, and be trained and develop their method of analysis. After 2 or 3 uses of the ICP most users will be capable of using the instrument alone.

Contact Information

Wembo Yang, facilty manager
Phone: (510)643-1748
FAX : (510)643-1749

Andy Yang, backup facility manager
241 Hilgard Hall
Phone: (510)643-9171

Dr. Garrison Sposito, facility director