School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Wolfson Laboratory - Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry

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Picture of Mass Spec

The School has an established stable isotope laboratory, which was partially funded by the Wolfson Foundation when it was setup in 1996.

The facility now has two gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometers with automatic carbonate preparation systems. The original instrument is a VG PRISMIII with an Isocarb prep system, and more recently a Thermo Electron Delta + Advantage with a Kiel Carbonate III prep system has been added.

These systems are ideally suited for the rapid analysis of sub-milligram sized carbonate samples to ascertain their stable oxygen and carbon isotopic compositions, but with an additional link to a CE Instruments NA2500 elemental analyser there is the provision for direct analysis of the carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of organic matter.

The facility is largely used for palaeoenvironmental research based on the analysis of skeletal carbonates (including annually-banded corals and clam shells, foraminifera, and ostracods) and deep sea sediments.