Explore CWEST LabsOne of the more recent INSTAAR facilities to be established is the ICP-MS laboratory to measure trace metal concentrations. Although the lab has been used in a variety of projects, one particular research focus area for the lab is the analysis of Foraminifera. Foraminifera, or forams for short, are single-celled organisms found in all marine environments. Lab director, Dr. Tom Marchitto, has sailed the proverbial seven seas – actually just the Atlantic Ocean - in search of the remains of their calcium carbonate shells in deep sea sediment cores. He uses ICP-MS analysis to obtain information from the shells that can help reconstruct past climates.

ICP-MS Lab Whitney Doss

All gowned and ready to go, graduate student Whitney Doss prepares samples in the ICP-MS lab clean room. Photo by Tom Marchitto.

The ICP-MS lab consists of three rooms. One is a Class 1000 clean room where foram samples are prepared. This room is designed to never allow more than 1000 particles (0.5 microns or larger) per cubic foot of air in contrast to typical office building air, which may contain 500,000 to 1,000,000 particles. Before entering the clean room, analysts make use of a gowning room where they put on special garments so that their clothes do not give off particles in the clean room. Samples are analyzed in the instrument room, which houses a thermo Finnigan Element 2 sector field ICP-MS.

Contact: Dr. Tom Marchitto, Lab Director - tom.marchitto@colorado.edu
Link: ICP-MS Lab INSTAAR webpage




Thermo Finnigan Element2 sector field ICP-MS

Thermo Finnigan Element2 sector field ICP-MS. Photo by Tom Marchitto.