Clean Room & Cold Labs


The Ice Core Paleoclimatology Group is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments which perform multi-parameter analyses on melted ice samples. Stable isotopic ratios of oxygen and hydrogen are determined with a Finnigan-MAT mass spectrometer (shown in photo on the right) at a rate of 200 samples per week. Radioactivity of particulates filtered from meltwater samples is measured on a Tennelec Alpha/Beta counting system.

The rest of the analyses are performed in the large Class 100 Clean Room facility (shown above). Class 100 means there are less than 100 particles (diameter > 0.5 µm) per cubic foot of air. Inside the clean room, pre-cut ice samples are cleaned using highly purified deionized water from several Millipore water systems and prepared for dust and chemical studies. Microparticle concentrations in melted samples are determined in 16 size ranges using Model TAII Coulter Counters and in 256 size ranges using the Coulter Multisizer. Inorganic species in melted samples are measured using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer and several ion chromatographs, one of which is equipped with an autosampler.

There are other facilities available on campus for specialized analyses such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), microprobe, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).