Facilities

The Nu Noblesse HR 5F5M and custom-designed and built gas extraction and purification line

Noble Gas Mass SPECTROMETRY Lab

Our main analytical facility is the WUSTL Noble Gas Laboratory. Noble gases are unique geochemical tracers, in that they do not participate in reaction chemistry. Rather, noble gas isotopic compositions are primarily affected by radioactive decay of assorted parent isotopes on a variety of timescales.

High-temperature isotope geochemistry studies have long focused on radiogenic isotope systems, such as U-Pb, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd and Hf-W. We expand the radiogenic isotope toolbox to include constraints from noble gas isotope systematics. Using state-of-the-art multicollector mass spectrometry, high-precision measurements may shed new light on topics such as the state of the early Earth, and chemical exchange between deep Earth and surface reservoirs.

The Nu Noblesse HR 5F5M multi-collector noble gas mass spectrometer at the Nu Instruments Factory in Wrexham, Wales

Our new gas extraction/purification line provides samples gas to the Nu Noblesse HR 5F5M noble gas mass spectrometer. The laboratory is fully automated using the National Instruments cRIO platform to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Standard tank section of an early version of the gas preparation line

A highly compact design minimizes internal volumes in the gas preparation line

 

The gas prep line under vacuum and processing air standards

A compact configuration of valves with pneumatic actuators allows for low system blanks and automated control of the gas preparation line

Collectors on the Noblesse 5F5M with the gas prep line in background

Sample Preparation and WET CHEMISTRY LABS

Our sample prep and wet chemistry labs are used to process, clean, and separate rock or mineral samples for geochemical analysis. Rock preparation equipment includes a mini jaw crusher, a disk mill, and a sieve shaker.

Sepor Mini Jaw Crusher

Retsch AS200 Sieve Shaker

A new stereo microscope with built-in camera for hand-picking of mineral separates.

Leica Stereozoom S9i Microscope

Mettler-Toledo XSE105 Dual Range Analytical Balance

Thermo Scientific ST16 Centrifuge

VWR Gravity Convection Oven