Please click on the headings below to explore our facilities in more detail.
Two MAP 215-50 noble gas mass spectrometers with dedicated UV and IR/CO2 laser extraction systems. Both are fully automated and operated with Labview software.
This two room suite is used for the storage and first stage of preparation of samples for past environmental change analysis.
Electron Probe Microanalysis
The electron microprobe is capable of quantitative analysis with an accuracy of about ±1% for major elements, and detection limits from 20 to 1000 ppm can be attained. The spatial resolution is approximately 1 µm.
The ICP-MS instrument employs an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) as the ionization source and a quadrupole mass spectrometer (MS) analyzer to detect the ions produced. It can simultaneously measure most elements in the periodic table and determine analyte concentration down to the sub nanogram-per-litre (ng/l) or part-per trillion (ppt) level.
Petrological Thin Section Preparation Laboratory
The Thin Section Laboratory has an extensive range of equipment used by our fully trained and experienced technical staff Kay Green and Michelle Higgins.
This includes various sized diamond saws, a Jones and Shipman surface grinder, a Logitech LP50 precision lapping machine and other lapping and grinding machines.
Plasma Source Multi-collector Mass Spectrometry
These instruments combine the ionization efficiency of an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source, capable of ionizing most elements, with the high precision and accuracy in isotope measurement offered by a magnetic sector analyser.
Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry
The Isotope Geochemistry Group has three multi-collector thermal ionization mass spectrometers for high-precision isotope ratio determination.
Uranium Series Facility
The geochemistry group runs a Uranium Series Facility for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This service is managed by NERC, but provided under contract by the geochemistry group within the Department of Earth Sciences at the Open University. This facility provides training and technical facilities for the mass spectrometric determination of U, Th and Ra isotopes on geological, environmental, and archaeological materials.
The Volcano Dynamics Group has an extensive range of instrumentation for the chemical and physical monitoring of volcanic activity, and a fluid dynamics laboratory for experimental investigation of volcanic phenomena.
X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory
X-ray spectra can be used for high precision (commonly <±1% or <±1ppm) quantitative analysis of major and trace elements in silicates, carbonates and sulphates.
The Department has both an FT-IR microscope, for the measurement of volatiles (CO2 and H2O) in volcanic rocks and for analysing the chemical composition of biogeomacromolecules, and an open-path FT-IR which uses an optical telescope to measure the volatile composition of volcanic glass plumes in the atmosphere in real time.
Geochemistry Clean Rooms
A full clean room suite exists for the preparation of geological, environmental and archaeological materials for analysis using TIMS, PIMS and ICP-MS.