Laboratory Facilites

Main Geochemical Laboratory

Agilent Vista Pro Simultaneous Axial Inductively Coupled Atomic Emission Spectrometer (ICP-AES) -  Analyzes major and minor elemental compositions in solutions.

Agilent Cary 50 Spectrophotometer - Analyzes small samples of liquid for bulk chemical composition.

BET-Accelerated Surface Area and Porosimetry System - Provides a tool to quantify the size of surface area (minerals, powders, etc.) and pores.Lab Photo - BET

Other Instrumentation - Metrohm Titrator, Orion pH meters and ion selective electrodes for benchtop and field sampling. Wet-lab equipment includes  2 drying ovens and 2 centrifuges, 1 Millipore water purification unit, 2 ultrasonicators,1 wrist-action shaker and 1 vortex agitator.

Optical Microscopy Laboratory - This lab contains several research microscopes for transmitted and reflected light, as well as UV microscopy.

Interferometry Facility

Vertical Scanning White Light Interferometer  - Vertical scanning white light interferometry (VSWLI) provides nanometer-scale vertical resolution for the study of crystal surface topography. In combination with flow-through experiments, this technique adds a whole new dimension to the study of the key factors in mineral-solution or growth kinetic rate laws (e.g., the effect of saturation state, catalysis or inhibition, pH, organic acids).

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer and Laser Ablation

Lab Photo - Finnegan 2The This lab houses a single-collector, magnetic sector ICP-MS (Thermo FinniganTM ELEMENT2) characterized by high sensitivity (2 GHz/ppm) and the ability to run in high-mass resolution modes to differentiate isobaric interferences.  The lab is dedicated to rapid trace-element analyses (ppt to ppm) and high-precision isotope dilution determinations of concentrations for a variety of trace elements.  The lab also houses a 213 nm NewWave laser ablation system for in situ analysis of trace elements in minerals on the tens of micron scale. (

             Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer and Microscope

The lab houses a ThermoNicolet 3700 Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectrometer coupled to a ThermoNicolet Continuum IR microscope.  This equipment is sensitive to the mid-IR range and can be used to investigate water and
CO2 contents in minerals as well as organic species in soils, plants, tissues, etc.

Clean Lab

The clean lab is characterized by positive pressure and HEPA-filtered air. The lab houses one HEPA-filtered laminar flow hood and one wash-down hood designed for perchloric acid digestions. Also included are a Mettler-Toledo 5 digit balance, Eppendorf microcentrifuge, ultrasonicators, water purification system, and a static blower. This lab is
restricted-access in order to maintain clean room conditions. (

  Sedimentology Equipment

The department maintains various equipment for offshore studies, including high-resolution seismic and side-scan sonar equipment.  

The Malvern Laser Particle Size Analyzer (LPSA) quickly and accurately measures grain size, from clay particles through sand size, using only small sediment samples.  The LPSA is used at Rice for projects studying sediments in the Gulf of Mexico, Antarctica, and Northeast Australia.

Field Geophysics Equipment  - Includes a 60-channel, high resolution seismograph, a ground penetrating radar system, a gravimeter, and a magnetometer.


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