Isotope Geoscience Unit

Isotope Geoscience Unit

Introduction

Isotope measurements have been made at SURRC since the 1960s. The Isotope Geoscience Unit, formerly Isotope Geology Unit, operates stable, radiogenic/ICPMS and noble gas laboratories for the Scottish Universities. We also provide analytical facilities for applications of stable isotopes to life and earth and environmental science research, and Ar-Ar geochronology on behalf of NERC.

We pursue a diverse range of research aimed at tracing material and quantifying rates of processes on time scales of billions of years, e.g. planetary accretion and evolution, through to decades, e.g. climate and environment change. Training of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers in isotope analysis is important and we have a team of skilled technicians and scientists, who, not only ensure the equipment is well-maintained, but also offer thorough training experience to post-graduate students and other visitors. Prof. Tony Fallick is head of the stable isotope laboratories, Dr Fin Stuart runs the noble gas labs and Prof. Rob Ellam oversees the thermal ionisation and plasma mass spectrometers and associated preparation labs.  While we place a lot of emphasis on the development of new analytical techniques with instrumentation that is amongst the best in the world, we are also keen to widen the application of some of the more routine isotopic techniques into an ever-widening array of sub-disciplines.