ALS offers analysis of Technology Critical elements by high resolution ICP-MS (ICP-SFMS). The laboratory is equipped to handle any sample matrix such as:

  • water,
  • solid materials
  • biota
  • waste
  • geological samples

Furthermore, up to 72 elements from the periodic table can be tested quantitatively. Read more about our screening method here.

TCEs are typically present at ultra-trace levels in environmental samples, thus setting high demands on performing laboratory. ALS Scandinavia participates in the COST Action TD1407 network as part of a workgroup focusing on the development of analytical procedures for determining TCEs at environmentally relevant levels.

We offer several analysis packages that includes TCE metals. Below you can find links to our packages. Please contact us for more information about our analyses.

Metal screenings

Total content metal analysis

TCE/PGE elements



What are Technology Critical Elements (TCE)?

In the development of new technologies, trace metals such as PGE (platinum group elements) and REE (rare earth elements) are key components. Due to a significant usage increase in a number of technologies, there is a need to understand their concentrations and transport in the environment. Moreover, the impact of technically-critical elements on biochemical cycles and potential health threats are to be further explored. 

A new and relatively scarcely studied group of elements, Technology Critical Elements or TCEs, has gained considerable interest during the last five years. The emerging interest mainly originates from the dramatic alterations in cycling of these elements in environmentally relevant systems, as well as the newly developed ability to quantitatively determine the TCEs in affected and unaffected systems. 

Technology critical elements can be found in the development and manufacturing of, for example, renewable energy sources (wind- and solar power), energy storage (batteries), high-tech products (computers and mobile phones) and medical devices. Due to the transition to green energy supply the usage of these metals has increased dramatically.

The list of critical raw materials for the EU has ben extended over the years and the list for 2020 contains 30 critical raw materials. In the list below you can fins the critical raw materials that are analysed at ALS in Luleå, Sweden. 

Antimony, Sb Iridium, Ir
Barium (baryte), Ba Osmium, Os
Beryllium, Be Palladium, Pd
Bismuth, Bi Platinum, Pt
Boron (borate), B Rodium, Rh
Cobalt, Co Rutenium, Ru
Gallium, Ga Cerium, Ce
Germanium, Ge Dysprosium, Dy
Hafnium, Hf Erbium, Er
Indium, In Europium, Eu

Magnesium, Mg

Gadolinium, Gd
Niobium, Nb Holmium, Ho
Phosphorous, P Lantanium, La
Scandium, Sc Lutetium, Lu
Silicon metal, Si Neodym, Nd
Tantalum, Ta Praseodym, Pr
Tungsten, W Samarium, Sm
Vanadium, V Terbium, Tb
Aluminium (bauxite), Al Yttrium, Y
Litium, Li Ytterbium, Yb
Titanium, Ti  
Strontium, Sr  

Blue marked metals are metals in the platinum group (PGM) and grey marked metals are rare earth elements (REE).

Nickel, Ni, is a metal that may be added to the list in the future.



TCEs as potential tracers of specific activities

The use of TCEs in new and specific technologies provides an opportunity to use these elements as tracers of specific activities. At each stage of their life cycle, these elements can be released into the environment. Below you find examples of technologies where technically critical elements are used:

Element Use Element Use
Ruthenium (Ru) Electronics Platinum (Pt) Catalytic convertors
Rhodium (Rh) Catalytic convertors Cerium (Ce) Lighter flints, catalytic convertors
Palladium (Pd) Catalytic convertors, catalysts Praseodymium (Pr) Aircraft engine alloys
Osmium (Os) Staining Neodymium (Nd) Magnets
Iridium (Ir) Electronics Gallium (Ga)

Computer chips, semi-conductors

Cobalt (Co) Batteries Litium (Li) Batteries


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