Office of Science
Photo of David Koppenaal

David Koppenaal

Chief Technology Officer, WR Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

P.O. Box 999, K8-84
Richland, WA 99352
Work: (509) 371-6549 Fax: (509) 371-6555 Updated: November 12, 2012

Current Activities and Projects

Dr. Koppenaal is currently Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the W. R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He assumed this positions, in addition to his Laboratory Fellow status (1998), in October, 2007. As CTO, he is responsible for directing the development and implementation of new, transformational instrumental tools for the EMSL.

Research Interests

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.

Past Experience

Dr. Koppenaal served as interim Chief Research Officer (CRO) for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from June 2006 through September 2007. In the CRO role, Dr. Koppenaal reported to the Laboratory Director and was a member of the upper management team for the Laboratory. Dr. Koppenaal was responsible for the overall science and technology portfolio and capability of the Laboratory, and directed management of the Laboratory’s ~$30M discretionary research (LDRD) budget.

From 2003-2006, Dr. Koppenaal managed the Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics group within the Biological Sciences Division of the Fundamental Sciences Division at PNNL. He managed this same group while Associate Director of the W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory from 1998-2003. This group (~ 40 staff) was active in the development of techniques and methods for proteomics and structural/functional biology. In these roles, Dr. Koppenaal oversaw the development, installation, and commissioning of the world’s first wide-bore 900 MHz NMR spectrometry system (at that time the highest field NMR in the world). During this same time, PNNL developed world-class proteomics capability. Dr. Koppenaal had oversight responsibility of the Richard Smith research group at PNNL during this period. This effort involved substantial Laboratory, DOE, and NIH interaction and advocacy to build a internationally recognized, high-throughput proteomics capability.


Ph.D., Chemistry (Analytical). University of Missouri (Columbia), 1978.

B.S., Environmental Chemistry and Mathematics (double major). Southwest Missouri State University, 1974.

Awards, Honors, & Appointments

• Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007.

• Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) in 2005.

• Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry Collision/Reaction Cell Technology, 2004.

• Promoted to Laboratory Fellow in 1998 (this position is the highest level of scientific achievement in PNNL).

• Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, Plasma Source Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry, 1997.

• R&D 100 Award, PSQ Plasma Source Mass Spectrometer, 1996.

• NSF Graduate Research Traineeship, University of Missouri and Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center, 1976-1978.

• Member of American Chemical Society, Analytical Division; Royal Society of Chemistry (UK); American Society for Mass Spectrometry; American Association for Advancement of Science

• Editorial Board Member, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy, 2001-present.

EMSL Publications >View All EMSL Publications


Dr. Koppenaal is the author of more than 70 papers in open literature, numerous reports and formal documents on mass spectrometry for inorganic and isotopic characterization. He holds 9 US and international patents for ICP-MS instrumentation developments, which have resulted in over $2.5M in royalty and instrumentation returns.