Environmental and Complex Analysis Laboratory

Welcome to the home of the Environmental and Complex Analysis Laboratory. New in 2015, leveraged on the partnerships between CAICE, ThermoFisher Scientific and active support from the University of California San Diego, the facility embodies the continual development of novel analytical methodologies to support researchers continually faced with the need to measure within complex chemical systems.

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Lab Overview

ECAL is a state-of-the-art analytical facility that houses cutting-edge chromatography and mass spectrometry instrumentation, and serves as a platform to develop innovative strategies for performing sensitive, accurate and precise analysis of complex matrices. The laboratory’s expertise and resources are available to researchers across the campus of UC San Diego and to researchers across the globe. As no two samples are alike, complex samples typically require innovative approaches for their analysis. Comprehensive compositional analysis of complex and environmental samples can be implemented through the following state-of-the-art analytical systems within the ECAL facility:

  • Ultra-high resolution hybrid linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometer
  • Gas chromatograph coupled to a triple quadrupole MS
  • 2-D and 1-D ultra-performance liquid chromatography systems with UV/Vis and electrochemical detection
  • Nano-liquid chromatography systems
  • Inductively-coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometer
  • Ion chromatograph with conductivity detector

All of the UPLC systems are capable of being hyphenated to the LIT-Orbitrap MS system. Furthermore, other hyphenated and unique techniques that are available (but are not limited to) include: UPLC-Orbitrap-ICPMS, IC-ICPMS, single-particle-ICP-MS (spICP-MS), SPME-GC-MS, and thermal desorption/pyrolysis-GC-MS. For inquiries about these unique approaches and the possibility for others not listed here, please contact the ECAL staff. Routine mass spectrometry applications include organic, organometallic, inorganic and elemental analyses. For organic and organometallic compounds, available measurements include high accuracy molecular weight determination, structural characterization through hyphenated MS techniques (including CID, HCD and ETD), as well as quantitative analysis through both GC-MS and UPLC-MS. For inorganic and elemental analysis, available measurements include quantitation of inorganic ions and individual elements, speciation of individual elements (e.g., simultaneous quantitation of Fe2+ and Fe3+), as well as the characterization of metallic nanoparticles. Use of the facility resources can be done through instrument training or through samples submission. For further information on scheduling training as well as requirements and recommendations in sample preparation, please visit the Sample Submission page.


Neal Arakawa,  ECAL Director Email: narakawa@ucsd.edu Phone: 858-822-3330


Neal Arakawa,  ECAL Director Email: narakawa@ucsd.edu Phone: 858-246-3291   UCSD Campus Location Urey Hall – Room 2112

  Mailing Address: Environmental and Complex Analysis Laboratory University of California San Diego Urey Hall 1204 MC 0314 9500 Gilman Dr. La Jolla, CA 92093-0314 Maps & Parking A campus map is available; Urey Hall is labeled as building “113”. For visitor parking, stop by the Information Center on Gilman Drive (see map below) to purchase a parking permit (also shown on the map). These permits will allow you to park in the B (green) parking spots.


Tools & Resources


Sample Submission Guidelines