University of Washington Trace Element Laboratory for Environmental Science

A mass spectrometry facility in the College of the Environment for the analysis of trace elements in natural materials. Designed to uncover the geological and biological processes that shape our planet, reconstruct past climate, track animal migration, and trace contaminants in the environment. To see if we can support your trace element research email us at or

Analytical Capabilities

Instruments and Facilities:

Mass spectrometry:

    • Element2 High-Resolution Magnetic Sector ICP-MS
    • iCap RQ Quadrupole ICP-MS

Laser ablation:

    • Analyte.G2 Excimer Laser (193 nm)

Wet chemistry sample introduction/processing:

    • seaFAST automated preconcentration system
    • prepFAST MC automated column chromatography system
    • prepFAST automated sample preparation system
    • SC-4DX Fast high throughput sample introduction system
    • Apex Omega High sensitivity desolvating nebulizer for ultra-trace analysis


    • Class 1000 Clean Room with Class 10 workstations (documentation)
    • Off-site data backup, user office, private online data access


The TraceLab was established through the generous support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust together with contributions from the College of the Environment,  Earth and Space Sciences, School of Oceanography, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Quaternary Research Center, NOAA-PMEL,  and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.

The lead PI’s of the facility are Profs. Alex Gagnon (Gagnon Lab), Randie Bundy (Bundy Lab)  and Frankie Pavia (arriving Jan 2024) of Oceanography, as well as Prof. Marjorie Cantine (arriving Nov 2023) of ESS. In addition, 12 other faculty and researchers from across the UW community have contributed to building the facility and continue to support TraceLab with their expertise.

The facility is managed by Research Scientist Jakub Sliwinski ( who brings more than a decade of academic experience to the TraceLab.


Seed Grants

Seed Grants for Trace Element Analysis Research Projects at the University of Washington The TraceLab at the University of Washington plans to award approximately nine seed grants to support trace element research. Each award will be approximately $5,000 each. They are designed to encourage the rapid development of new projects and to engage new users. …


Write us with questions or to setup a pre-analysis meeting: or

Where to find us: TraceLab is located on the 4th floor of the Ocean Science Building (OSB) on the campus of the University of Washington. The main lab is 446 OSB. (Map)

Getting here: The UW Light Rail Station is near Husky Stadium (Map), a shortish walk away . Alternatively, the easiest nearby parking is Lot S1 (Map). You can purchase a parking pass from the kiosk on your way to lot S1.

Shipping Address:
Alex Gagnon
University of Washington
1501 NE Boat St
Marine Sciences Building, Room G
Seattle, WA 98105