Initial Publication Date: May 24, 2021

An Integrated FFF-spICP-QMS System at the Colorado School of Mines Aquatic Nanoparticle/Colloid Analysis Lab

Colorado School of Mines

Contact Information

James Ranville




Instrument Type

PostNova AF-4/Perkin Elmer NexION 350D

  • Stable isotopes
  • Environmental (field) Sampling

Field flow fractionation (FFF) provides a "chromatography-like" separation of aquatic nanomaterials with online elemental detection by ICP-QMS. Single particle ICP-MS (spICP-QMS) directly counts and sizes nanoparticles and colloids from 50-2000 nm. Instruments can be run in stand alone mode or hypenated together.


Applications include:

  • Composition (elemental) of phases
  • Trace element analysis
  • Dissolution/precipitation of phases

Typical Use:

The size distribution of elements among aquatic species (humic-bound, nanoparticlulate, colloidal) is measured. Typical samples include surface waters, atmospheric precipitation, and soil dispersions. Fractions collected after FFF separation can be subject to electron microscopy for further characterization.

Conditions for Use:

  • Visitors are invited to work in the lab to work with lab personnel
  • Training Session (short course) is offered
  • Given the specialized nature of the equipment guest researchers will work closely with students/postdocs during their visit. Inclusion of students/postdocs as authors on publication will be discussed before any project is initiated.

User Fees:

Costs will be determined on an individual basis after consultation with the laboratory manager.

Instrument Priorities:

Priority is given to funded research projects.

Remote Use:

Remote operation is not possible

Sample Preparation:

Minimal sample pretreament is required. Samples should be filtered at 10 micron.

Standard Collections/Lab Blanks:

Nanoparticle standards are used to calibrate instrumentation and are provided by the laboratory.


Educational Use:

Graduate student research projects are invited

Support provided by:

NSF CBET 1512695