Radiogenic and cosmogenic isotopes — Instrumentation and materials


Materials we analyse include:

  • U–bearing accessory minerals such as zircon, rutile, titanite, apatite, hematite, cassiterite: U–Pb, U–Th, Hf, trace elements, 238U/235U
  • K–bearing minerals such as sanidine, alunite: 40Ar/39Ar
  • Carbonates: Sr, U–Pb, U–Th, 238U/235U, 234U/238U
  • Minerals and whole rocks (Hf, Pb, Sr, Nd, 238U/235U, Lu–Hf, Rb–Sr, Sm–Nd)
  • Rocks, sediments: 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl
  • Archaeological (e.g., bones, artefacts) and biological materials(e.g., plants): Sr, Pb, U
  • Fluids: Sr, 234U/238U
  • K–bearing groundmass from basalts, pseudotachylyte, impact melt and whole rock meteorites: 40Ar/39Ar step–heating
  • Sanidine, muscovite, biotite, plagioclase, hornblende, alunite, jarosite and other K–bearing minerals: 40Ar/39Ar step–heating, single crystal 40Ar/39Ar fusion
  • Fine–grained intergrowths of metamorphic and authigenic K–bearing minerals and pseudotachylyte: 40Ar/39Ar in situ dating
  • Clay minerals and glauconite: K–Ar dating and 40Ar/39Ar micro–encapsulation


Instruments we use include:

  • Thermo Fisher 'Neptune Plus' Multi–Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (MC–ICP–MS) for the high–precision measurement of U, U–Th, Pb, Hf, Nd, Si isotope ratios
  • Nu Instruments 'Attom' Single Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (SC–ICP–MS) for U–Pb geochronology, trace elements and isotopic/element mapping
  • Nu Instruments 'Nu Plasma HR' MC–ICP–MS for U–Pb geochronology
  • Thermo Fisher 'Triton' Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (TIMS, 2x) for Sr, Nd, and U–Pb geochronology
  • Isotopx 'Phoenix' TIMS for U–Pb geochronology (delivery March 2020)
  • Elemental Scientific Lasers 193nm excimer and solid–state laser ablation systems (3x) coupled to ICP–MS instrumentation for high spatial resolution sampling for U–Pb, U–Th, tracer isotope and elemental applications
  • New Wave Research 'Micromill' sampling device for physical sampling of material for dissolution at >50um
  • National Electrostatic Corp. 15SDH–2 5MV tandem accelerator mass spectrometer with capability for 10Be, 14C, 26Al, 36Cl
  • NEC 250kV single stage accelerator mass spectrometer for 14C
  • Mineral separation and purification laboratories
  • 'SELFRAG' – a high–voltage device for the selective fragmentation of rocks (delivery March 2020)
  • Cosmogenic nuclide geochemistry laboratories
  • Class–100 Clean lab suite for the safe and low contamination processing of samples, including laminar flow hoods with low (ppt) Pb blanks
  • MAP 215–50 noble gas mass spectrometer
  • GVI ARGUS V noble gas multicollector noble gas mass spectrometer
  • Thermo Scientific HELIX–SFT noble gas dual–collector mass spectrometer
  • Nu Instrument NOBLESSE noble gas mass spectrometer
  • Thermo Scientific ARGUS VI noble gas multicollector mass spectrometer
  • 4 x Teledyne Cetac Fusions CO2 Stepped Heating 40Ar/39Ar Laser System
  • Teledyne Cetac Fusions Diode Stepped 40Ar/39Ar Heating Laser System
  • Teledyne Cetac Analyte Excite+ Homogenized Excimer 40Ar/39Ar Laser Ablation System
  • New Wave UP–213 nm UV YAG Laser 40Ar/39Ar Ablation System
  • Cryo–system for isolation of specific noble gases
  • 5 x UHV automated 40Ar/39Ar extraction lines
  • In–house designed glass UHV line for 40Ar/39Ar micro–encapsulation
  • Thermo Scientific ICAP–Q OES for K–Ar dating