The Analytical Geochemistry Laboratory

Kim and Dr. Ali in the lab.
Dr. Abdul-Mehdi Ali
Northrop Hall Room 213
(505) 277-1637


The laboratory is located in Room 213 of Northrop Hall building # 24 on the main UNM Campus. The telephone number to reach the laboratory is (505) 277-1637. The laboratory is under the direction of Senior Research Scientist II Mehdi Ali, PhD. The laboratory is staffed with highly experienced personnel and state of art computer controlled instruments.

The primary mission of the laboratory is to support the Department’s (Earth and Planetary Sciences) teaching and research programs for geo-chemical analytical needs. Secondary mission is to support various chemical (organics and inorganics) and biomedical analytical services and needs for other UNM departments and institutes, other universities and educational institutes, federal, state, city, and public agencies and industries. Also provide training and teaching for students and laboratory users for the proper analytical techniques. Providing aid to students, staff, and faculty to support their research programs related to chemistry, geochemistry, and biomedical studies. The laboratory is classified as service center facility that can provides support and services for many other groups including other UNM Departments, government agencies, and private sectors on a structured fee bases as approved by UNM general accounting office.

Interested in using our facilities?

If you are interested in using the laboratory services, please contact Dr. Ali by Email ( or telephone at 277-1637. The laboratory also can perform analytical work for individuals or companies outside of UNM on a contract basis as long as it does not interfere with the primary educational mission of the facility. 

Capabilities include the preparation and analysis of:

  • Rocks, ores, soils, and minerals for major and trace elements
  • Loss on ignition
  • Wet chemistry
  • Water and waste water
  • Metals and alloys
  • Plating solution
  • Fertilizers
  • Micro-materials
  • Environmental Samples
  • Biomedical samples
  • Samples preparation
    • Acid digestion
    • Press pellet
    • Fused disks
    • Reagents and water extractions
    • Rock crushing, pulverizing, and sieving
    • Particle size fractionation
    • Filtration




Equipment and instrumentation include:

Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES)







The ICP-OES(s) are capable of analyzing various aqueous sample types for major and trace levels (mg/L to µg/L) cations including total sulfur (S) and total phosphorus (P). Both systems are equipped with two separate detectors, ultraviolet (UV) and visible (VIS) detectors. They are also coupled with ESI FAST auto-samplers which will increase samples throughput and accuracy of analysis.

Rigaku ZSX Primus II wavelength dispersive XRF(X-ray fluorescence) spectrometer


The Tube above with 4K watts generator Rigaku ZSX Primus II provides rapid quantitative determination of major and minor elements, from beryllium (Be) through uranium (U), in a wide variety of solid sample types. The system is equipped with state of the art auto-sampler that can house 48 samples. This facilitates samples throughput and continuity of samples analysis under the same calibration.

NexION 300D Inductively Coupled Plasma/Mass Spectrometer (ICP/MS)


The NexION 300D ICP/MS provides trace level (µg/L to ng/L) analytical capability of elements including Rare Earth Elements (REEs). It is coupled with ESI SeaFast auto-sampler that has three modules (Hydride generation, PrepFast, and SeaFast). The hydride generation is used for analyzing volatile elements such as arsenic (As), selenium (Se) ….etc. for lower detection limits.  The PrepFast module is used for regular aqueous samples analysis. The SeaFast module is used for analyzing samples with high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) without dilution for trace elements determination to improve signal to noise ratio and accuracy of analysis.

New Wave Laser Ablation System can also be coupled with the NexION 300D ICP/MS for direct analysis of solid, with regular sample chamber, and biota “including biomedical” samples using CryoCell sample chamber to freeze dry (Cryogenic) such samples.

Flexar HPLC can also be coupled with the NexION 300D for elemental speciation such as As3, As5, MMA, DMA, Cr3, Cr6, Se4, and Se6. These species can also be analyzed simultaneously in one chromatogram.

Flexar HPLC with UV-VIS detector coupled with Ecom (Electro Chemical Detector) for inorganic elemental and organic compound analysis.


The Flexar HPLC is capable of analyzing various elements and compounds at low levels (mg/L to µg/L) using either the UV-VIS detector or the ECD detector. It is equipped with a Peltier cooled auto-sampler to maintain the integrity of samples (especially organics samples) from degradation and breakdown. The system also equipped with column heater to keep constant column temperature for improved peaks separation and stable retention time for peaks identification.

Flow Injection Mercury Analyzer (FIMS) for trace analysis of Mercury.


The cold vapor mercury analyzer is a Flow Injection Mercury System (FIMS). It is compact and easy-to-operate with detection limit at low µg/L level.  It is equipped with a Hg lamp and a single detector for maximum sensitivity. It performs automatic baseline offset correction immediately before each measurement which will provide short and long term baseline stability for accurate measurements. 

Thermo Fisher/Dionex Ion Chromatography (IC) ISC 1100


The Thermo Fisher/Dionex ion chromatography (IC) provides excellent capabilities for aqueous samples analysis for anions and other elements and/or compound such as perchlorates, amino acids,.…etc. It is coupled with AS DV auto-sampler for continuous and accurate analysis. The Chromeleon software provide excellent data integration and processing for precise and accurate results.