We are the largest UK producer of stable isotope data, particularly specialising in climate, environmental and archaeological studies. We undertake high precision 13C/12C and 18O/16O analysis of sedimentary carbonates, organics and microfossils. Our fluorination 18O/16O and 30Si/28Si analysis of diatoms and other opaline forms of silica is a unique capability in the UK, and one of only a handful of laboratories of its kind in the world.
In addition, the production of high precision 2H/1H, 18O/16O and 13C/12C analysis of waters is vital for modern calibration studies to aid in the interpretation of palaeorecords.
We also specialise in the study of geochemical processes in the hydrosphere and atmosphere, with particular strength in 15N/14N and 34S/32S analysis of a wide variety of compounds associated with nutrient transfer and pollution in the global nitrogen and sulphur cycles. 18O/16O analysis of nitrates and sulphates, which can provide valuable additional information on these environmentally important species, has now been added as a routine capability.
For archaeological research, we have recently undertaken pioneering work on 2H/1H analysis to join 13C/12, 15N/14N and 34S/32S methods in palaeodietary studies; in addition we are the leading UK laboratory for 18O/16O analysis of teeth and bone. The Stable isotope facility's combined 18O/16O and 87Sr/86Sr capability is especially valuable in studies of archaeological migration.
The laboratory has preparative and mass spectrometry facilities for determining the stable isotope ratios, at natural abundance levels, of the important light elements: 2H/1H, 13C/12C, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 30Si/28Si and 34S/32S. We can undertake these analyses on a very wide range of sample materials relevant to studies across the environmental sciences. This is achieved by using a mixture of adaptable 'off-line' techniques, with access to four high vacuum gas preparation lines, alongside state-of-the-art, fully automated 'on-line' techniques.
Instruments include eight stable isotope mass spectrometer systems:
Materials we analyse include:
Contact Béatrice Bullock-von Moos for further information about the Stable isotope facility.