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Light Element Analysis Laboratory

The Light Element Analysis Laboratory (Stable Isotope Laboratory) is equipped with the following instrumentation: Thermo Electron MAT Model 253 stable isotope mass spectrometer, with interfaced Thermo Trace gas chromatograph (GC) combustion operating in the continuous-flow mode for isotopic analysis on small samples (sub-nanomole quantities of both CO2 and H2). The GC is also interfaced with a Thermo DSQ-II quadrupole mass analyzer for making qualitative and quantitative compositional analyses.

The isotope facilities also include a Thermo Electron Gas Bench II interface and sample preparation device equipped to extract and analyze carbonate, bicarbonate and, water samples for either oxygen or hydrogen isotopes. The instrument operates in either dual inlet or continuous flow mode with the capability of analyzing 20 µg quantities of carbonate. Additional capabilities include a CDS pyrolysis interfaced to the Thermo Trace GC for analysis of carbon and hydrogen isotopes of solid organic-rich materials.

The isotope facilities also have high vacuum extraction capabilities for sample extraction, preparation and analysis, they include:

  • Hydrocarbon separation and aliquoting
  • Cryogenic carbonate preparation and extraction line with micro-pressure manipulation control with the ability for gas mixing
  • Multipurpose extraction line for standards preparation
  • Hydrogen preparation line for water samples-zinc reduction of water
  • Carbon dioxide equilibration line for preparation of H2O sample prior to O2 analysis

The laboratory is also equipped with a ultra-low temperature freezer capable of maintaining temperatures between -50°and -80°C.

Lab Leads
Paul Niles (281-483-7860), NASA
Darren Locke (281-483-5047), Jacobs JETS
Light Element Analysis Lab
Light Element Analysis Lab
Light Element Analysis Lab