The unit has both basic equipment for crushing of rocks and separation of minerals, a clean laboratory for isotope sample preparation and advanced mass spectrometers for precise analysis of isotope compositions.
The department has also other types of equipment for mineral synthesys and mineral analysis.
We have the basic equip-ment for crushing, milling and sieving of rock samples, as well as for mineral separation using Wilfley table, Frantz Isodynamic Separators and heavy liquids.
There are also microscopes and binoculars for handpicking of minerals, and equipment for photo-documentation of individual mineral grains.
The clean chemistry laboratory is used for dissolution of whole rock and mineral samples and separation of the elements of interest by ion exchange chromatography.
These include U and Pb, Sm and Nd, as well as Sr. Other types of samples, such as water and sediment samples, may also be treated. In order to keep contamination at low levels and make it possible to prepare and analyse small U-Pb samples, the laboratory is built as a cleanroom with an overpressure of filtered air inside.
Our thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS) is a Triton from Thermo Finnigan, that was installed in 2006.
It is equipped with nine Faraday detectors and one secondary electron multiplier with RPQ filter for small signals. The sample magasin can house 21 samples.
It is used for isotope analysis of solid substances, principally uranium and lead, strontium, samarium and neodymium.
Since 1999 the department also has an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), a Micromass Isoprobe, equipped with a collision cell and a multi-collector system encompassing nine Faraday detectors and one Daly detector for analysis of small samples.
Samples are introcuced in solution, evaporated and passed through a hot plasma, where the atoms are ionized and accelerated into the mass spectrometer unit. Energy filtering of ions takes place in a collision cell, prior to mass separation by the electromagnet. Because of the efficient ionization, the Isoprobe has the potential of analysing isotopic composition on a wide range of elements; so far analytical work has concentrated on Sr, Nd, Pb, Sn, Fe, Si, Hf and Th.
The Nordic ion microprobe facility (NORDSIM) is also located at the Department of Geosciences. NORDSIM is a joint Nordic resource, funded by all of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Finland) and governed by a special board with members from these countries.
It is centred around a large geometry Cameca IMS1280 ion microprobe. The original instrument was installed in 1995, and underwent a major upgrade in 2009. This complex and advanced instrument enables high spatial resolution (typically 10-30 micrometer) microanalysis of a wide range of elements and isotopes in different materials.
The most common application to date has been U-Th-Pb geo-chronology of complex polyphase zircons whose history would be unobtainable by other methods. In addition trace-element studies in zircons as well as other silicate minerals, together with analysis of light stable isotopes (e.g. B, C, O) are being performed.
The Vegacenter for microanalysis is a new national analytical center at the Department of Geosciences of the Swedish Museum of Natural History which opened in 2015.
The Vegacenter is equipped with two new ICP mass spectrometers, one mainly for elemental analysis, the other for precise isotopic analyses.These instruments are connected to equipment for laser ablation of mineral samples, and to a gas chromatograph for compound-specific isotope analysis of organic compounds.
High-temperature Furnaces (1300°C) for experiments in air and at low oxygen fugacities, using H2/CO2 gas mixtures regulated by mass-flow controllers. The oxygen fugacity can be monitored by use of solid electrolyte oxygen sensors. This equpiment is mostly used for crystal synthesis by flux-growth methods.
PANalytical X'Pert system equipped with X’celerator strip detector.
Scanning Electron Microscope with accessory equipment for energy dispersive X-ray analyses (EDS), cathodoluminiscens (CL) and back-scatter electron (BSE) imaging, provides excellent possibilities for microchemical studies and imaging of solid phases.
Mössbauer Spectrometer (Wissel) for studies of Fe valence states and coordination in minerals. Spectra can be obtained at ambient and low-temperature by use of a liquid-nitrogen cryostat. Normal samples should contain 2-5 mg Fe, with a total weight limit around 100 mg. Small samples can be measured using point-source technique.
Microscope-Spectrophoto-meter (Zeiss MPM800) for measurements of optical absorption or transmission spectra in the UV-VIS-NIR range from ca. 280 to ca. 2200 nm. The spatial resolution of the instrument allows measurements of polarised optical spectra of small (Ø~20 µm) single crystals at a spectral resolution of 1 nm.
The equipment is mainly used for studies of valency and coordination of transition metal cations in solids through analyses of absorption bands caused by electron transitions, but numerous other applications are possible. An accessory diamond anvil cell (DAC) provides means to record absorption spectra at elevated pressures.
FTIR spectrometer (Bruker Vertex 70) for measurements of transmission spectra in the MIR-NIR wavelength ranges (400-10 000 cm-1). The instrument is equipped with an IR microscope, ATR objective and polarizor. This instrument is mostly used for measuring vibrational modes of molecular species (e.g. OH, H2O, CO3) in minerals.
We also have a Beta counter for analysis of 234Th, and a Gamma counter for analysis of 210Pb and 137Cs.