This 900 sqft laboratory space is dedicated to the study of trace metals in geological and extra-terrestrial materials with five main rooms: a gown room to wear protective equipment, a preparation room for mineral separation in clean conditions, a microbalance room, and two trace metal wet chemistry laboratories to process samples for stable and radiogenic isotope studies respectively.
Protective and metal-free equipments are necessary when using corrosive acid solutions and working with contamination-sensitive materials. Three metal-free fume hoods are manufactured using corrosion resistant polypropylene. This is particularly critical for preserving samples from terrestrial contamination during this process.
Two total exhaust laminar flow hoods are equipped with HEPA or ULPA filters to provide Class 10 or better conditions.
A polypropylene perchloric acid exhaust fume hood with washdown system connected to a dilution tank is also available due to the particular explosive nature of perchlorates.
Two metal-free vertical flow cabinets are also available in the wet chemistry labs. Laminar flow hoods provide a dust-free Class 10 low contamination environment that is necessary to prepare samples for trace metal isotopic analyses. These hoods minimize contamination from the room and from the chemistry specialist when samples are exposed in open vials to the air during column chromatography.
A Mettler microbalance with infrared sensor and anti-static device is the crucial piece of equipment for weighing precisely (at the 10 microgram precision) and accurately sample powder, mineral separates and solutions.
A Mettler Toledo NewClassic Precision Balance ME4002E with 0.1mg precision available in the mineral separation laboratory.
The Millipore MilliQ® Advantage A10 is set up with a Q-POD® and Q-POD® Element dispensers to produce purified water suitable for trace metal geochemistry.
The Q-POD® Element unit produces ultrapure water suitable for ultra-trace elemental analysis (ppt and sub-ppt detection limits). Both dispensers are used for preparing water for cleaning and making dilute acid solutions for chemistry and mass spectrometry.
Analab teflon covered graphite blocks are the state-of-the-art hot plates used in trace metal geochemistry and cosmochemistry laboratories as they are the only metal-free hot plates and resistant to hydrofluoric acid used for dissolving silicate minerals.
Two Savillex® acid stills DST-1000 produce ultra-clean distilled mineral acids (HNO3, HF, or HCl) from commercial trace metal grade solutions. The advantage of this model is to make rapidly acid solutions with part per trillion levels of metals suitable for trace metal isotope geochemistry and geochronology.