Contact Us

If you have an interest in our work, or if you would like to use the CEMS facilities to solve an analytical problem or for your own work, please contact Professor Michael Bizimis.

Fee Schedule


The CEMS facility provides high precision elemental concentration and radiogenic isotope ratio analyses by plasma mass spectrometry on a variety of samples, including minerals, rocks, soils, waters, biological compounds and materials for industrial applications. The list of service fees is tabulated below.

Table 1:  Cost for users who run their own samples unassisted.

Service USC Users Other Academic  Industry
 ELEMENT2/hour  $50 $85  $140 
 NEPTUNE/hour  $50 $85  $140 
 Laser Ablation ICPMS/hour 
 $75 $100  $180 


Table 2:  Cost for users who submit prepared samples for analysis.

Service  USC Users  Other Academic Industry
Solution analysis/sample1 $28
Laser ablation/sample1 The Laser Ablation hourly rates from Table 1, plus labor
Isotope analysis/sample2 $85 $140 $220
Labor/hour3 $75







Note 1: The customer is expected to provide the standards, quality control samples and anything needed to determine concentrations.  If the CEMS lab provides additional consumables (e.g., standards), or there is additional labor (e.g., dilutions or other sample manipulations) there will be additional costs.  In the case of Laser Ablation ICPMS, there are many different types of analyses that require different amounts of time and effort.  These types of analyses are charged the instrument hourly fee plus labor.  There is a minimum fee of $250 for sample solution analyses and minimum fee of $350 for laser ablation analyses. 

Note 2: Isotope analysis/sample: This is the cost per single element isotope analysis run by CEMS on samples that have already been prepared and sent to us ready to run.  The lab routinely analyzes Sr, Nd, Hf, and Pb isotopes.  Additional isotopes include B, Fe, Cd, Zn, and Cu upon request.  There is a minimum fee of $500 for isotope analyses. 

Note 3: Labor is defined as the manpower associated with training of new users, running samples or experiments for users on a per hour rate basis, data analysis, and other labor associated with sample preparation, data collection and data analysis.  In all cases, if additional labor is anticipated for samples sent to us to process or analyze, the customer will be contacted with a new estimate prior to providing the service.  

Table 3:  Costs for sample preparation performed by CEMS.

Service USC Users Other Academic  Industry
Sample digestion and preparation for typical trace element or isotope ratio analyses 1  $25 $45  $80 
Chromatographic separations for Sr, Nd, Hf, Pb (each isotope) 2  $60 for Pb, Nd, Hf (each), $40 for Sr  $110 for Pb, Nd, Hf (each), $70 for Sr   $170 for Pb, Nd, Hf (each), $140 for Sr






Note 1:  CEMS can digest and prepare samples for trace element or isotope analysis.  Typical sample digestion is by HF:HNO3 mixtures.  Other digestions following specific protocols can be done but may require additional labor costs.  Samples must be received as powders.  If samples have insoluble minerals (e.g., zircons) and complete digestion is required, the samples can be digested by high-pressure bombs for an additional cost.  If samples are not in powder form, please contact us for instructions.  The minimum fee for sample preparation is $250 for USC users, $400 for other academic and $600 for industry.

Note 2:  CEMS can do the chemical separations for Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb for your samples.  These costs are typical for basalts.  Types of rocks that require additional or specialized processing will incur more costs.  Please contact the lab for details prior to shipping samples.  Due to the labor and planning involved we process a minimum of 10 samples at a time, and there is a minimum fee of $500.

Table 4:  Example costs for typical bulk rock and mineral analytical suites (per sample, includes sample preparation and data).

Service USC Users Other Academic Industry
Trace element analysis by HR-ICPMS
(typical element suite: Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb,
Cd, Sn, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu,
Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, Hf, Ta,
Pb, Th, U, Li, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co,
Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga) 
($300 minimum)
($400 minimum)
($420 minimum)
Sr, Nd, Pb isotope analyses combined (discounted) $450
($2000 minimum)
($2000 minimum)
($3000 minimum)


Typical analytical protocols followed in CEMS lab:

Solution ICPMS: The Thermo High Resolution ICPMS ELEMENT2 permits the analysis of elements that suffer from polyatomic interferences (e.g. 40Ar35Cl on 75As, or 40Ar16O on 56Fe).   By physically separating the ion of interest from the interfering polyatomic species it enables more accurate and precise data, thus eliminating additional sample preparation that is often required for some elements.  Moreover, the high sensitivity of the system allows the analysis of a wide range of matrices.  Standardization is done with a combination of internal standards (typically indium) and external calibration by well-characterized USGS rock standards and multi-element solutions.  Analysis by standard addition or isotope dilution can also be performed for an additional cost, as these types of analyses are more labor intensive and require additional instrument time.  A typical element suite contains the following elements:  Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Cd, Sn, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, Hf, Ta, Pb, Th, U, Li, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Ga.  Additional elements or different combinations of elements can be analyzed based on the customers needs.  There is no additional cost for more or fewer elements.

The 193 nm Photon Laser system coupled to the Thermo ELEMENT2 provides in situ concentration analyses of minerals and other solid compounds without the need for chemical separations.  The spatial resolution is 10 microns, depending on concentration.  CEMS routinely analyzes silicate minerals for concentration, zircons for U-Pb dating, and sulfides for platinum group elements and other siderophile and chalcophyle elements.  We can also provide spatially resolved elemental concentration maps of entire areas of the analyzed sample if the spatial distribution of an element is needed.  Concentrations are typically calculated using NIST and USGS standards.  


Isotope ratio analyses protocols:

The Thermo Neptune PLUS coupled with the ESI APEX introduction system allows for very high sensitivity, around 1,500 V / ppm for Nd, Hf and Pb.  Depending on concentrations, different introduction systems are used to optimize the acquired data. The isotope ratios are run against well-characterized international reference materials.  Detailed information on the chemical procedures run in our lab may be located in the Publications folder provided on the CEMS website (