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Radiogenic Isotopes Lab


NEW:  See article in Geosciences news about the completion of the radiogenic isotopes lab!  After a long haul, the lab is now running smoothly and we're measuring U-Pb zircon analyses with sub-picogram blanks.  Stay tuned for a full length article in the next addition of the Geosciences newsletter, The Smilodon.

The Princeton radiogenic isotope geoscience lab was completed in the summer of 2011 and took shipment of a IsotopX PhoeniX62 Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS) in late September 2011. Following months of cleaning and blank measurement, we have begun doing high-precision U-Pb geochronology on zircons and other accessory minerals with sub-picogram Pb blanks.  Over the coming months and years we will expand to measuring small quantities (e.g. single mineral scale) of Nd and Sr isotopes with high precision.  

These methods are combined with available analytical equipment within the department of Geosciences, such as the Element2 ICP-SF-MS hosted by Francois Morel's research group, and a plethora of mineral separation and imaging facilties available within the department and on campus, including several scanning electron microscopes (hosted at PRISM) capable of cathodoluminescence imaging quantitative geochemical characterization.

Below are just a few photos of the of the lab and the equipment available. This page will be updated soon with more detail on our analytical facilities, standard measurements, and ongoing research.


The climate controlled subroom housing the PhoeniX62 TIMS instrument, viewed from the control room. 


View of PhD student Brenhin Keller loading U-Pb samples in a class 10 laminar flow bench, which will be placed in the TIMS seen in the foreground.


Class 1000 clean room 1 of 2, housing two 6-foot class <10 vertical laminar flow benches (on right) and two 6 foot class 50 horizontal laminar flow benches (on left).


PhD student Jon Husson in class 1000 clean room 2 of 2, with three class 10 vertical laminar flow benches, one containing micrscope for mineral picking.