Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry (GD-MS) Analysis


Please note our prices are subject to change.

Technical service highlights

NRC's Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry (GD-MS) is the industry standard for the measurement of critical minerals and high purity materials. This analytical technique is pivotal in supporting advanced market segments, including clean energy, batteries, semiconductor industry, electronics, heath care, defense among others.

For over 30 years, NRC's world-leading GD-MS facility has provided Canadian and international clients with accurate and timely, inorganic mass spectrometric analysis at a level of quality and service expected of a world class ISO / IEC 17025 accredited National Metrology Laboratory. This GD-MS laboratory is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada for specific tests as listed on the Scope of Accreditation.

What we offer

GD-MS analyst validating a technical report.

Typical test pin sample withdrawn from GD-MS cell.

We offer state of the art services, including:

  • direct solid sample analysis with minimal sample preparation
  • full elemental coverage of over ten decades of concentration
  • high detection power enabling analysis at parts per billion (ppb) levels in a single measurement run
  • rapid analysis time (approx. 1 to 1.5 hours including sample prep)

GD-MS enables the elemental analysis of solid samples by sputtering in a low-pressure DC argon discharge. The sputtered atoms are ionized in this plasma and extracted into the mass spectrometer for separation and detection. When the spectrometer is operated in high resolution mode, this provides a powerful technique for the analysis of all trace and ultra-trace elemental constituents of inorganic materials. Because samples are analyzed in solid form, laborious and error prone dissolution procedures inherent to such techniques as Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry are avoided. Additionally, GD-MS is free from the matrix dependence response plaguing most other elemental analysis techniques, minimizing the need for matrix matched standards.

Commonly analyzed materials

This is not an exhaustive list. If your sample is unusual (type, shape, or condition), or if you are a new client, please contact our laboratory first, at 1-613-998-4237, or at Thank you.

  • Aluminium
  • Aluminium Oxide
  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Bismuth
  • Bismuth Oxide
  • Bismuth Telluride
  • Cadmium
  • Cadmium Selenide
  • Cadmium Mercury Telluride
  • Cadmium Telluride
  • Cadmium Tellurium Selenide
  • Cadmium Zinc Telluride
  • Carbon
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Gallium
  • Gallium Antinomide
  • Gallium Arsenide
  • Gallium Oxide
  • Gallium Phosphide
  • Germanium
  • Germanium Oxide
  • Gold
  • Indium
  • Indium Antinomide
  • Indium Phosphide
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Mercury Telluride
  • Mercury Zinc Telluride
  • PMN-PT
  • Rhenium
  • Selenium
  • Silica
  • Silicon
  • Silver
  • Tantalum
  • Tellurium
  • Tellurium Oxide
  • Thallium
  • Tungsten
  • Zinc
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Zinc Selenide
  • Zinc Telluride

Why work with us?

NRC's services set the standards

  • GD-MS has become the industry standard for measuring critical minerals and high purity materials (i.e., 7N – 99.99999%)
  • World class facility specializes in trace and ultra-trace analysis of high purity conductive and semi-conductive materials
  • Over 30 years of continuous operation and analysis optimization for conductive/semi-conductive solids
  • ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited by Standard Council of Canada (SCC) since 2002
  • Validated methods for 19 of Canada's critical minerals
  • Provide analytical services for the leading critical mineral and high-purity material industries in Canada and globally.
  • Superior detection limits compared to ICP-OES, XRF and ICP-MS (<1ppb in the solid)
  • Highly trained & experienced staff specialized in ultra-trace elements and purity determination
  • Up to Class 10 clean sample preparation area
  • Able to measure concentration range from sub-ppb to % levels in same run
  • Wide elemental coverage (60-70 elements) in a single run
  • Ability to measure C, N, and O
  • SI traceable calibration
  • Quick analysis time
  • Capabilities registered in the CIPM Calibration and Measurement Capabilities (CMC) database


NRC's facilities include two high resolution VG 9000 GD-MS systems that are operated with cooled pin cell sources, providing semi quantitative elemental analysis of both conducting and semi conducting solids, e.g., carbon, alumina, gallium, cadmium, tellurium, indium, gallium arsenide, cadmium selenide, cadmium zinc telluride. The instruments are capable of detecting impurities from the percent level down to sub parts per billion directly in the solid in a single run, which allows for a rapid turn around of submitted samples.


National Research Council's GD-MS facility is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada to ISO / IEC 17025. All data produced are traceable to the International System by the use of appropriate international reference standards for instrument calibration.

Results are accompanied by stated uncertainties, consistent with ISO / IEC 17025 requirements.


The prices listed for GD-MS services are subject to periodic review.

Pricing and ordering

Order number Description price
A33-11-01-01 Up to 60 elements at standard detection level:
10 scans are carried out across the spectra of the elements to be determined. This offers sufficient detection capability for most samples.
A33-11-01-02 Up to 60 elements at enhanced detection level:
enhanced detection limits are achieved by acquiring additional scans across the spectra of the elements to be determined. These detection limits are recommended for samples of very high purity (6N purity or higher).
A33-11-01-03 Up to 30 elements at enhanced detection level:
enhanced detection limits are achieved by acquiring additional scans across the spectra of the elements to be determined. These detection limits are recommended for samples of very high purity (6N purity or higher).
A33-11-01-04 Custom analysis (including samples in powder form):
Inquire for pricing and availability prior to ordering.
Custom fee on request

All fees shown in Canadian dollars.

If you do not have or wish to have a blanket agreement at the moment, and want to order our services, please complete the Standard Agreement for GD-MS Analysis Services, print it, have it signed by an authorized officer of your company and send it to NRC by email to, or post to:

National Research Council of Canada
M-12 Rm B23
1200 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1A 0R6

We will ask you that you include the first page(s) of the agreement document with your shipped sample to facilitate a fast turn-around time.

If your company already has a blanket agreement in place to purchase GD-MS analysis services from us, please complete the request to order our services and submit it electronically.

If your company would like to negotiate a blanket agreement with us to simplify the ordering process, please contact us at

The maximum turn-around time for GD-MS results is 30 days from receipt of the sample. If you require expedited services, please contact us.

If your sample is unusual (type, shape, or condition) or if you are a new client, please contact our laboratory first, at 1-613-998-4237, or at

Contact us

For precise and prompt assistance with any high-purity material measurement needs, please contact:

Ovidiu Mihai
Telephone: 613-993-6830


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