GemTOF is a next-generation elemental analytical technique – Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-TOF-MS). GemTOF is able to record nearly all elements in the periodic table simultaneously and at ultra-high speeds and low limits of detection. This breakthrough technique therefore offers new research opportunities in origin determination, age dating, analysis of inclusions and chemical zoning in coloured gemstones, diamonds and pearls.
GemTOF conducts high quality elemental analyses, produces multidimensional data, and feeds database for statistical analyses. The combination of improved sensitivities and low background noise guarantees a superior limit of detection for heavy elements in parts per billion and for light elements in parts per million. In addition to routine measurements, this new and sophisticated analytical method complements other gemmological testing methods. This enhances trace element characterization of gemstones and pearls for origin determination, treatment detection and isotopic analysis, and opens new research opportunities for origin determination, age dating, inclusion studies or high spatial resolution chemical mapping of gems.
The Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF, which is part of the Swiss Foundation for the Research of Gemstones (SSEF: Schweizerische Stiftung für Edelstein-Forschung), was founded by trade organisations in 1974 and works independently on a scientific basis. It is structured as a foundation under the aegis of Switzerland's Federal Department of Home Affairs. It is an internationally leading gemmological laboratory. The function of the SSEF laboratory is to analyse precious stones and issue test reports for diamonds, coloured stones and pearls. Members of SSEF Laboratory are also engaged in research and education, in connection with leading worldwide universities and other gemmological laboratories.