Trace Element Research Laboratory

Formerly part of the Microscopic and chemical Analysis Research Center

026 Mendenhall Laboratory, 125 South Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: (614) 292-6954, FAX: (614) 292-7688, E-mail:

The Trace Element Research Laboratory (TERL) has world-class capabilities for elemental chemical measurements for an incredibly wide variety of applications in earth, environmental, chemical, biological, medical and materials sciences.  Superb expertise and state of the art inductively coupled plasma based optical emission and mass spectrometry instruments are available. Most of the elements in the periodic table (other than C, N, O, F and noble gas elements) can be measured at concentrations from major (%) to ultratrace (part per trillion).  Measurements can be made on solution samples, solids following digestion or, using laser ablation sampling, directly on solids.

The TERL provides facilities and expertise to researchers, students and faculty throughout The Ohio State University in variety of ways.   Properly trained researchers, students and faculty can use the facilities independently or in collaboration with our staff.  On the other extreme, TERL staff discuss research or analyses problems of interest with faculty, students or clients, design the appropriate measurements, make the measurements and provide analysis results. 

Our mission includes teaching of the fundamental concepts and practical measurement techniques through traditional courses, short courses and one-on-one sessions.  The TERL encourages faculty to use the facilities and staff expertise in their teaching activities.

We also provide services and expertise to other Universities, government organizations, individuals and industry at rates on a par with commercial laboratories with a special emphasis on unique method development and problem solving.

 Collision/Reaction Cells to Overcome Spectral Overlaps in ICP-MS - contact us if interested in a future class

 Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission and Mass Spectrometry short course at OSU-contact us if interested in a future class

[Instruments/Capabilities] [Personnel/Contacts] [Classes] [TERL Clients and Access]
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Other measurement capabilities formerly part of the Microscopic and chemical Analysis Research Center

Instruments and Measurement Capabilities

Development of New Measurement Capabilities

TERL researchers are investigating the fundamental processes involved in analytical techniques for elemental analysis in order to improve analysis precision, accuracy and application to a wide range of sample types. New techniques are being developed to quantiatively rapidly determine not only total elemental concentrations, but also elemental speciation (oxidation state, free inorganic ion vs. metal-ligand complex vs. organometallic molecule) at concentrations as low as part per billion.

Access to TERL facilities and TERL Users

TERL facilities are highly accessible to students, faculty and researchers at The Ohio State University.

TERL facilities are used in traditional courses in the School of Earth Sciences as well as other Departments. Students, faculty and researchers have the opportunity to learn how to use instruments in the TERL for their own research and education.

Our clients come from a wide variety of disciplines including Earth Sciences, Materials Science and Engineering, Dentistry, Natural Resources, Environmental Sciences, Food Science and Technology, Chemistry, Physics and the College of Medicine. Students and researchers from more than 30 different departments throughout The Ohio State University use the TERL facilities and expertise.

Students, faculty and researchers from other Ohio universities are also welcome at the TERL.

The TERL also carries out research and sample analysis for industries. The fee structure for these clients is commensurate with commercial laboratories.

Send e-mail to TERL

John Olesik,, The Ohio State University, School of Earth Sciences, Trace Element Research Laboratory, 026 Mendenhall Laboratory, 125 S. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, updated 2-11-10.