Mass Spectrometry (MS) Analytical Platform

The MS platform of Pôle Spectrometrie Ocean (PSO) provides for the highly-precise and sensitive analysis of chemical elements and isotopes in natural samples of geological or biological origin.

This cutting-edge analytical platform, initiated in 2007, is a structuring element of Europole Mer (EM) whose goal is to assert research in the Finistère region of France in a marine-oriented «regional pole of excellence».

This equipment is part of a more comprehensive range of tools, including an electron microprobe. The project confederates research laboratories from UBO (IUEM), Ifremer, IRD and the CNRS, institutes focussing on marine research in biology, microbiology and geochemistry. The instrumentation MS Ocean pole in Brest reinforces the mainstay of French oceanographic research in Brittany placing regional laboratories at the level of the largest European and world laboratories in oceanographic research, all equipped or currently being equipped with these techniques.

MS techniques provide a wide variety of research applications, including elementary analysis of trace and major elements and isotope analysis.

An original feature of the project is its multidisciplinary approach to the scientific issues of biology and geoscience in line with a strong trend in these fields at the beginning of this century. This ultimately leads to conducting a variety of applied research studies (fisheries, energy and mineral resources, environment) as well as fundamental research. The analytical package is supported by strict upstream sample preparation that involved the installation of clean rooms and a specific layout of the laboratories accommodating the equipment.

This set-up is operated by assigned engineers and technicians capable of adapting the configurations and analytical developments to the wide variety of topics addressed by researchers.

The processes that lead to the formation of a natural, solid, liquid or gaseous geological or biological sample are recorded in its composition: major elements, trace elements or isotopic compositions. One of the key aspects in the scientific approaches made possible by the new MS analytic technologies is chemical and isotope tracing, which allows us to discuss the processes, and the origin of elements found in rocks and animals or dissolved in fluids and seawater. Chemical and isotopic compositions constitute a complex memory, the decoding of which provides valuable information on the history of the globe, climate evolution, anthropological effects, pollution, the formation processes of mineral and energy resources, the environment and the processes linked to biological and microbiological activities.