Instrumentation & Facilities
The illustrated tour of the Biogeochemical Laboratories includes pictures and brief descriptions of more items than are mentioned in this brief overview. A wide range of modern analytical equipment for biogeochemical and organic geochemical research is available in the Department of Geological Sciences.
- The Varian 4000 GC/MS/MS is an ion trap mass-spectrometer for molecular characterization and quantitation of organic components in mixtures. Solutions containing organic components are first gas chromatographically separated along a GC column resulting in individual eluting peaks. Each eluting peak is subsequently admitted to the ion source of the mass-spectrometer.
- Our new ThermoFinnigan Delta Plus XP mass-spectrometer is connected on-line with gas chromatographs (both oxidative and reductive interfaces), elemental analyzers (oxidative and reductive TC/EA), a Gas Bench, and a Hydrogen Device.
- We further have Finnigan MAT 252 mass spectrometers that are coupled with gas chromatographs (GC-MS) and on-line elemental analyzer/laser ablation units. We routinely determine carbon, sulfur, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopic ratios of individual compounds on-line in small samples.
- Our Delta Plus XP and the MAT 252 mass-spectrometers may also operate in dual-inlet mode for C, H, O, N, S isotopes.
- Rapid and safe extraction of biomarkers from rocks etc. is performed in an ASE 200 automated solvent extraction device.
- Structural identification of organic molecules is possible with a Finnigan TSQ 700 triple-sector mass spectrometer.
- Gas chromatography is performed with Hewlett Packard 5890A, Varian, Agilent, and ThermoElectron Trace instruments.
- Organic-sulfur compounds are monitored with a gas chromatograph equipped with a flame photometric detector in addition to a flame ionization detector.
- Rapid TOC and sulfur analyses are made with a LECO carbon/sulfur analyzer and a Geofina Hydrocarbon Meter.
- A programmable BenchMate robotic sample preparation unit assists with the handling of large batches of samples.
- Our laboratory facilities include wet-chemical benches with fume hoods, sample preparation areas for organic geochemical materials, a freeze-drying apparatus, a walk-in refrigerator freezer, nitrogen evaporators, and cryogenic vacuum lines for isotopic preparation of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulfur dioxide samples.
- We have available a new Costech CHN elemental analyzer.
- Most of our graduate students have private office cubicles with internet connection.
- The group enjoys a lounge/seminar room with shared computers, scanners, printers, microwave, refrigerator, and coffee machine.
- Dr. Mastalerz's coal petrography lab features reflected light microscopes equipped with photometry systems and fluorescence attachments.
- A standard photographic camera and a digital camera with image analysis software are available.