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FiLTER – Fipke Lab for Trace Element Research

FiLTER is a fee for service facility specializing in trace element analysis and electron microscope imaging and analysis. The intended users are primarily academic researchers, but the facility is also available for government and industry research at higher fee schedules. The lab exists due to an investment from the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, and the generous donations of Charles Fipke who provided the funding to purchase the ICP-AES, ICP-MS instruments, laser and SEM.

FiLTER is located in the basement of the Fipke building at UBC's Okanagan campus - access is through FIP 145Z-1. Contact Us >>

The major components of FiLTER include:

  [ Click photos to enlarge ]

Dirty Lab – for solid sample preparation, the dirty lab has machines for cutting, grinding, powdering and polishing rocks, minerals and other solid samples.

Dirty Lab - Click to Enlarge

Clean Lab – a trace metal clean environment for preparing and diluting blanks, standards and samples prior to ICP-MS liquid sample analysis.


ThermoFisher iCAP 6000 ICP-AES – is used for trace element analysis at part per million concentrations of liquid samples.


ThermoFisher X2 quadrupole ICP-MS – is used for trace element analysis in the part per billion range of concentrations.


ThermoFisher Element XR double focusing ICP-MS – a more sensitive ICP-MS than the X2, it is also capable of resolving away most polyatomic interferences using higher mass resolution. The Element is best suited for ultra-low trace element concentrations and low volume samples.

EXR - Click to Enlarge

Photon Machines Analyte 193 Excimer laser – is used for laser ablation sample introduction to either of the two ICP-MS instruments. The laser delivers nanosecond pulses of 193 nm laser light that can be focused onto spots as small as 4 µm in diameter on a solid sample surface, in the process producing aerosols that are delivered to the ICP-MS. A separate computer workstation is used for post-acquisition processing of laser ablation data via Glitter software. Glitter enables the user to easily view laser ablation data and select the best portions for calculation of isotope ratios or element concentrations.


Tescan Mira 3 XMU Scanning Electron Microscope – This is a state of the art SEM employing a field emission gun for the utmost in image resolution and magnification. Elemental compositions are determined in the percent range using an Oxford Instruments X-Max EDS (energy dispersive spectrometer) detector. Crystal phase and orientation maps can be determined with an Oxford Instruments Nordlys EBSD (electron back-scatter diffraction) detector. A Struers electro-polisher and a Cressington PtPd sputter coater are available for sample preparation.

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Last reviewed shim11/3/2015 9:12:55 AM