Lab Fellow, Team Lead, Chemist
Science and Technology
Lab Fellow, Team Lead, Chemist
Science and Technology


Dr. Koppenaal directs the development and implementation of new, transformational instrumental tools for EMSL. He also serves as the technical lead for EMSL’s high resolution and mass accuracy capability project, a definitive molecular analysis capability that could comprehensively address complex natural sample characterization, including microbial community proteomes, natural organic carbon in the terrestrial and atmospheric environments, and new biofuels and bioproducts.

    Research Interest

    Dr. Koppenaal’s recent research includes the development of new types of mass spectrometry instrumentation and MS detectors based on ion-sensitive arrays (in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Arizona and Indiana University). This research may well provide the basis for a truly simultaneous, “all-the-signal, all-the-time” detector for elemental mass spectrometry, and has recently been highlighted in an Analytical Chemistry ‘A’ page review article. Another recent interest has taken Dr. Koppenaal into the field of metallomics. He helped introduce the elemental analysis community to this emerging new field and is currently active in the development of new high-resolution instrumentation and methods for the characterization of the metallome. Dr. Koppenaal's research has been focused principally on the development of atomic mass spectrometry for inorganic and isotopic characterization, and the demonstration of new analytical techniques and instruments for environmental, nuclear, nonproliferation, and biological/health problems. Dr. Koppenaal’s specific expertise in atomic mass spectrometry is recognized internationally. He became involved with the development of this technique in the early 1980s and has been involved in ion source and detector instrumentation, applications, and theoretical innovations with this widely used analytical technology. He and co-workers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have pioneered the application of ICP/MS as a powerful and relevant radioanalytical tool and demonstrated its utility for both radioactive waste characterization and its use as an ultra-trace nuclear forensics tool for the nuclear nonproliferation community. These efforts resulted in the building of one of the nation’s first glove-box enclosed ICP/MS instruments, demonstration of coupled ion chromatography-ICP/MS, and the use of laser ablation ICP/MS for improved radwaste analysis. Dr. Koppenaal’s group also initiated elemental analysis research with ion trap MS based instrumentation in the early 90’s. In related work, his group developed gas-phase reaction chemistry approaches that ultimately revolutionized the ICPMS field, resulting in a completely new generation of collision and reaction cell plasma source instruments.

    • 1998-present Laboratory Fellow, PNNL’s most senior scientific position.
    • 1992-present Management roles of increasing responsibility, including Division Director, Interim PNNL Chief Research Officer, and EMSL Chief Technology Officer, PNNL Organized and developed $60 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act capability. Managed laboratory-level discretionary research program (Laboratory-Directed Research and Development) of $35 million. Managed expansion of environmental and health-related proteomics program. Led effort to establish next-generation Ion Mobility Spectroscopy-Mass Spectrometer proteomics capability. Directed two major collaborative R&D programs ranging from $6 to $10 million. Transformed field of plasma source mass spectrometry by developing unique ion trap, collision/reaction cell and radioactive laser ablation technologies. Developed international reputation and robust intellectual property portfolio in this field.
    • 1988-1991 Research Scientist and Technical Group Leader, PNNL. Grew new PNNL Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry capability from single to multiple instruments and established recognized PNNL presence in atomic spectroscopy community.
    • 1984-1988 Chief Chemist, Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin. Directed and managed coal, petroleum resource characterization programs and efforts. Participated in salt repository characterization studies for rad waste storage. Developed and commissioned one of the first ICPMS capabilities in North America when this was a fledgling, unproven approach.
    • 1978-1984 Group Manager, Institute for Mining and Minerals Research, Kentucky Center for Energy Research, University of Kentucky. Developed and directed coal and oil shale resource characterization and environmental assessment efforts. Participated in coal and oil shale conversion technology development and assessment efforts, including oil shale extraction, coal gasification and liquefaction.


    • 1978 Ph.D., Chemistry (Analytical). University of Missouri (Columbia)
    • 1974 B.S., Environmental Chemistry and Mathematics (double major). Southwest Missouri State University

    Awards and Recognitions

    • Fellow, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2013
    • Award of Chemical Instrumentation Award, ACS Analytical Division, 2014
    • Ron Hites Award, American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), 2013
    • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2007
    • Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2005
    • Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Tech Transfer, 1997, 2004.