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Research facilities

As part of the joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences, we have specialist laboratories and generous networked computing facilities including:

  • New facility for 2016 - Petrology suite: 67 computer workstations each with state-of-the-art microscope - read news story.
  • Clean laboratory: The laboratory is at Class 1000, containing fume hoods at Class 100 cleanliness. It will allow analysis of trace levels of metal, such as elements from lithium to lead, for examining past environments, dating rocks and probing the origins of the Earth -read the news story.
  • Microprobe suite: a Jeol8100 Superprobe with an Oxford Instrument INCA microanalytical system (EDS).
  • London Geochemistryand Isotope Centre: This laboratory measures the geochemical properties of the Earth’s surface materials, underpinning research on biogeochemical cycling and environmental pollution. New ICP-OES, ion chromatography and carbon-sulphur instruments allow analysis of major- and trace-element compositions. The Groundwater Tracing Unit provides analyses of artificial and natural tracers in water.
  • London Geochronology Centre: The thermochronometry laboratory uses fission-track, quadruple mass-spectrometer, noble-gas spectrometer and LA-ICPMS to measure uranium fission-track, (U-Th)/He40 Ar39 and U-Pb isotopic signatures in apatite, zircon, biotite, muscovite and sanidine. These data are used to constrain lithospheric evolution, especially tectonic and climate-erosion driven uplift and exhumation.
  • X-ray diffraction facility: a Philips PW 1710 powder diffractometer and PC-APD computer software.