Chemistry Lab for Dissolution and U, Th, Sm and REE Chemistry
The UT (U-Th)/He laboratory also contains a dedicated chemistry laboratory with 3 low-flow fume hood, two laminar-flow workstations, acid distillation systems, water purification system, and sample drying environments. We use this dedicated facility extensively for sample dissolution following He degassing and sample spiking with various mixed 230Th-235U-149Sm-REE spike for ICP-MS based isotope dilution analysis of U, Th, Sm, and REEs. The clean lab also is where we mix and store all sample standard and spike solutions and acid wash all pipette tips and teflon beakers and vials. The laboratory is set up for HF-HNO3 and HCl pressure vessel digestion of silicate and oxide mineral samples. The laboratory currently has 12 Parr pressure vessel digestion devices in constant use, with each pressure vessel accommodating the dissolution of 14 samples (+1 procedural blank). Any large mineral samples (>100 mg) or samples with high concentrations of Ti, Fe, and Ca are subjected to ion-exchange column chemistry to prevent sensitivity suppression and to ensure stable signals during ICP-MS or TIMS analysis.
In addition, we also have a 100 level clean laboratory shared with the TIMS facility for low U and contamination sensitive, low-concentration samples. This clean laboratory is equipped with ceiling-mounted laminar-flow units for room air, laminar-flow workstations for column chemistry, and filtered-air evaporation boxes for drying samples, as well as separate acid distillation systems.