Melbourne trace analysis for chemical, earth and environmental sciences

Trace element analysis is the measurement of very small concentrations of specific elements present in a sample

Alex Duan
+61 3 8344 6485


Common approaches include speciation analysis, where individual chemical species are identified and/or measured, or fractionation, generally performed when the concentration of chemical species present is too minute to determine speciation.


The Melbourne TrACEES Platform provides high quality surface chemical analysis, trace elemental and speciation analysis, and associated structural chemical analysis services. The Platform consolidates substantial instrumentation and cross disciplinary expertise, supporting research in chemical, materials, environmental and life sciences. The Platform facilitates coordinated access to three nodes within the University of Melbourne:

The Chemistry node, located within the School of Chemistry, specialises in:

  • Surface chemical analysis using high-end X‐ray photoelectron spectrometry
  • Trace chemical analysis and speciation using gas chromatography - mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry, ion chromatography, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, and atomic fluorescence spectrometry
  • Structural chemical analysis utilising single crystal X‐ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy).

The Soil node, located in the Soil and Crop Section of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, provides services for:

  • Isotope ratio analysis of gases and liquids using Isotope ratio mass spectrometry
  • Elemental, gas and nutrient analysis based on inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, gas chromatography and nutrient analysis.

Geosciences node, located in the School of Earth Sciences, provides complementary surface compositional and structural analysis services to those provided by the Chemistry and Soil nodes. Capabilities include:

  • Advanced surface chemical analysis using the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (ESEM-EDS) and cathodoluminescence detector
  • Electron microprobe
  • 3D structural analysis at micrometre resolution using a Micro-CT scanner.

The Platform provides consultation and result interpretation services. Instruments are either open access on a fee-for-service basis, or available via collaborative access, and caters to customised project needs.