Analytical Facilities and Services

The research group has state-of-the-art equipment largely dedicated to their research endeavors and graduate student training. The group is also available to work with parties interested in the groups’ special skills and, in some cases analysis on a fee per sample can be arranged. The instrumentation and applied uses are listed below along with the primary faculty contact.

Facilities include:

Thermo Delta Plus Continuous Flow Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer- This instrument is used to measure the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulfur stable isotope composition of samples in organic and inorganic matrices. This instrument supports studies of marine biogeochemistry, particularly as part of Arctic research programs at CBL, as well as other research. Automated peripherals include a gas chromatograph for compound-specific applications, an elemental analyzer (carbon and nitrogen), a high-temperature analyzer for hydrogen and oxygen isotopes, a Gasbench® device that handles water and carbonate samples, and capabilities for methane and nitrous oxide measurements. Isotope-ratio mass spectrometry has many scientific applications in diverse fields that include plant physiology, oceanography, forensics, geochemistry, hydrology, and atmospheric sciences. Full-time support of our stable isotope instrumentation is provided by Dr. Dana Biasatti, a staff scientist, who is available to help students and faculty make full use of the instrument capabilities.

Gamma counters- Two low-background gamma spectrometers (Canberra Model GR420S) are primarily used for determination of sedimentation rates on continental shelves, using the radionuclides 7Be, 137Cs, and 210Pb.  This instrumentation can be used to measure any isotope that generates gamma-rays during radioactive decay (Cooper).

Thermo LTQ Orbitrap XL high resolution mass spectrometer - This newly developed and advanced mass spectrometer is capable of diverse analysis of organic molecules, both in quantitative and qualitative applications. Its multiple MS (MSn) capability, including different ionization modes, can be used to find structural information about unknown compounds and is therefore ideally suited to advance our understanding of metabolites formed during environmental fate of xenobiotics. (Gonsior)

Perkin Elmer 8300 Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emissions Spectrometer – This instrument is ideal for measuring the cation concentrations in solutions down to parts per billion levels.  It is housed and run out of CBL’s Nutrient Analytical Services Lab (NASL) and is a work horse for measurements of major elements in natural waters and of trace elements in carbonates for paleoclimate work.  Inquiries about specific sample analysis using this instrument are welcome.  Please contact NASL (link- for further information including fee structures and sample preparation. (Kilbourne)

Micro-respirometry system (Micro-Oxymax, Columbus Instruments) – This instrument is used for quantifying metabolic rates of animals. (Rowe)

Agilent 7500cx Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) - This instrument is ideal to measure ultra-trace (< 1 ppb) concentrations in water samples and other solutions.  It is equipped with a High Matrix Introduction accessory for analysis of solutions containing elevated levels of salt or DOC. It also contains a helium Octopole Reaction System to suppress polyatomic interferences on difficult analytes like calcium, potassium, iron, and arsenic. (Schijf)

10-position Milestone Ethos EZ microwave digestion unit with Twister Vessel Handling Module is available to dissolve solid samples (sediments, wood, animal tissues etc.) of up to 1 g for subsequent ICP-MS analysis. (Schijf)

Two class-1000 HEPA-filtered clean rooms. (Schijf)

Brinkmann Metrohm 809 Titrando dual-channel titrator- This instrument is used to perform fully automated static or dynamic potentiometric titrations of (de)protonation reactions in solid-solution, acid-base, and metal-ligand systems. (Schijf)

Agilent HP 8453 diode-array spectrophotometer with Peltier cell-temperature controller- This instrument is used to determine seawater pH and to conduct colorimetric studies of metal-ligand reaction kinetics and stoichiometry. (Schijf)

Gas chromatographs by Shimadzu and SRI with flame ionization and thermal conductivity detectors- These instruments are routinely used to measure dissolved methane, other light hydrocarbon gases, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen concentrations.  Hydrogen measurements are forthcoming.  Measurements are typically done in marine waters or in sediment pore-waters.  (Lapham)

Cavity Ring-Down Spectrometer by Picarro, Inc- This instrument continuously measures both methane and carbon dioxide concentrations and stable carbon isotope ratios continuously on air samples and also as discreet samples.  (Lapham)

Ion chromatograph by Dionex - Anion concentrations (sulfate, chloride, nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate) are routinely measured from marine systems.  (Lapham)

Mercury analyses - We have the ability to measure mercury and methylmercury in a variety of matrices (water sediment fish etc.) using extraction - purge and trap - and measurement by Tekran 2500 and 2600 or isotope dilution ICP-MS detection. These instruments support research but we provide analysis on a fee per sample basis. (Heyes)

ICP-MS Agilent 4500 - We use this instrument to measure a wide range of trace elements in sediment, fish and water - samples after suitable extraction. Of particular interest are metals considered pollutants such as Pb, Cd, Zn and As. This instrument is used to provide analytical support for parties interested in having samples analyzed on a fee per sample bases. (Heyes)   

GC-MS - We have two GC-MS (Agilent 7890-5975C and 6890-5973) and GC-ECD (Agilent 6890) with automated solvent extraction ASE-300 in our Organic Analytical Laboratory (OAL). We use these instruments in our studies of organic contaminants in in the environment and routinely measure PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs and pesticides in samples from fish to water to oil. We have the ability to provide custom analysis on other compounds of interest such as synthetic musks and trihalomethanes (THMs). We have the equipment to support a variety of extraction and separations. The instrumentation provides support to research and analysis on a fee per sample basis through OAL. (Heyes)

Beckman M4 coulter counter, PCR and RT-PCR machines, ultracentrifuge, Turner Cyclops flourometer, molecular devices spectrophotometer, epifluorescent microscope, GC-MS (with FID) for determining DMS. (Mitchelmore)