The laser ablation ICP-MS technology combines high spatial resolution sampling (spot size as small as 10 microns) with low levels of detection.  The diagram below provides information on the detection limits for various analytes for the ICP-MS instrument operating in solution mode.  Detection limits for laser ablation will not be quite as low, but the relative sensitivities will be the same.

 (courtesy of

Laser ablation analysis can be done on any material that the laser will couple with for efficient ablation and aerosol production (e.g., minerals, glasses, metals, frozen biological tissue, hair, toenails, etc).  Although the sample surface does not have to be perfectly flat, a good polish does make it easier to establish the textural context of the data.