Northern Analytical Laboratory Services (NALS)

University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia
What the facility does

Provides research and analytical testing services for material and environmental samples to the UNBC and Northern BC communities and beyond.

Areas of expertise

The Northern Analytical Laboratory Services (NALS) is home to an extensive suite of analytical science instrumentation including but not limited to XRD, XRF, TGA, DSC, DMA, SEM, HPLC-MS, CG-MS, Gas Analyzer, ICP-MS, ICP-OES, CNHS analyzer, IC, particle size analyzers, BET, IR-MS,  FTIR, NMR, that enables a broad spectrum of material, environmental, biological, chemical and physical analyses. 

Research services

The Northern Analytical Laboratory Services (NALS) provides R&D testing services in different areas including, but not limited, to soil, minerals, sediments, catalysts, adsorbents, water and waste water, air pollution, and industrial hygiene.

The services are available to UNBC researchers, private, public and non-profit sectors to help meet their testing, and research/development needs.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Construction (including building, civil engineering, specialty trades)
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals
  • Ocean industries
Specialized labEquipmentFunction

Materials Testing Lab

X-ray Diffraction (XRD) Analyzer

Mineral/material/soil analysis.


X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analyzer

Mineral/material/soil analysis.


Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA)

Material characterization.


Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC)

Material characterization.


Differential Mechanical Analyzer (DMA)

Material characterization.


Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area analyzer

Surface area, pore size/volume, physisorption, chemisorption analysis.


Particle Size Analyzer

Particle size distribution analysis.


Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Morphological analysis.


Combustion Elemental Analyzers (EA)

C, N, S, H elemental analysis.


Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer

Molecular characterization.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer

Molecular and electronic structures analysis.


Freeze dryer

Freeze drying for temperature sensitive materials.


Ball mill

Mechanical milling.


Blade grinder

Mechanical grinding.


High-speed centrifugation machine

Solid/liquid physical separation.


Atmosphere-controlled muffle furnace

Pyrolysis and bio-char synthesis.


Standard muffle furnace

Measurements of ash, organic matter contents and loss on ignition.


Parr Bomb Calorimeter

Higher Heating Value (HHV) analysis.


Temperature- and humidity- controlled chamber and micro balance

Gravimetric analysis of air-sampling filters (industrial hygiene).

Environmental Testing Lab

Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission (ICP-OES) Spectrometer 

Elemental analysis; total and dissolved metals.


Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) 

Trace elemental analysis.


Inductively Coupled Plasma-Triple Quadrupole (ICP-QQQ) Mass Spectrometer 

Ultra-trace elemental analysis.


Ion Chromatograph (IC)

Anions and cations measurement.


Gas Chromatography with Flame-Ionization Detection Mass Spectrometry (GC-FID/MS) system

Organic compounds analysis.


Gas Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) system

Organic compounds analysis.


High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (HPLC-MS)

Chemical composition analysis.


Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) system

Detailed trace elemental analysis.


Total Organic / Inorganic Carbon (TIC/TOC) analyzer

Total organic and inorganic carbon measurement.


Isotopic Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS)

Isotopic ratios analysis such as 13C/12C, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 34S/32S. 


IDEXX Quanti-Tray/2000 system

Detection of E. coli, total coliforms, fecal coliforms, and heterotrophic plate count (HPC) in water.


pH meter

pH measurement.


Electrical conductivity meter

Measurement of electrical conductivity and total dissolved solids.


Turbidity meter

Measurement of turbidity in water and wastewater.


Auto analyzer

Ammonium-N measurement.


Dissolved Oxygen meter

BOD5 (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) and CBOD5 (Carbonaceous  BOD) analysis.


Ultraviolet Visible (UV-Vis) Spectrophotometer

Chlorophyll(a) quantification.

  • University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO)
  • University of British Columbia (UBC)  
  • Thompson Rivers University (TRU)
  • Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL), University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)
  • City of Prince George
  • Canfor Corporation
  • Brown’s Bay Packing Company 
  • Water Life Systems Inc.
  • Just Vertical Company
  • Cheyne Industries Inc.
  • BC Centre for Disease Control
  • NPower Clean Tech Corporation
  • True North Environmental Ltd.
  • Deadwood Innovations Ltd.
NALS Resources (catalogue, sampling instructions, etc.)