School of GeoSciences

Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory

The University of Edinburgh's Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory prepares samples for the measurement of cosmogenic isotopes by Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).

This facility is designed to make possible the measurement of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides within rock and sediment.  Here, we chemically extract cosmogenic isotopes from rock and sediment and prepare targets ready for measurement by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) or Mass Spectrometry (MS). We are able to support preparation work for all of the major cosmogenic isotopes including cosmogenic 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, 21Ne, 3He and 14C.  The AMS or MS analyses are conducted at the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre (SUERC) or other collaborative institutions.

Most nuclides are measured from within quartz minerals (10Be, 26Al, 21Ne, 14C).  Therefore, any quartz-rich rock or sediment can be analysed.  3He is often measured within individual olivine crystals, while 36Cl can be measured in nearly any rock, making it particularly useful for carbonate rocks such as limestone.  We have preparation equipment that allows us to crush, sieve, and acid etch bulk rock to extract the mineral and size fraction required for analysis.  We have clean laboratories and equipment that allow us to extract and purify the cosmogenic isotope of interest.

The process and applications can be found in this poster:



The lab is located in central Edinburgh near Old College in purpose-built laboratories, refurbished in 2016.