Palaeomagnetism laboratory

One of only seven palaeomagnetism labs in the United Kingdom our palaeomagnetism labs contain a range of geophysical implements. This facility is mainly used by lecturing and research staff but increasingly undergraduate and postgraduate students are taking the opportunity to use the equipment in their dissertations. The facility contains two Molspin Fluxgate Spinner Magnetometers, a Agico JR4 High Sensitivity Spinner Magnetometer, a Large sample Digico Spinner, a Agico KLY3s anisotropy system with high/low temperature attachments, a Molspin Minisep anisotropy system, a Agico LDA-3 AF demagnetiser with Anhysteretic Magnetiser Unit, a Molspin large sample/multi-sample demagnetiser, a MMTD1 Thermal Demagnetiser, and a Pyrox Thermal Demagnetiser. Miscellaneous equipment includes a Molspin pulse magnetizer, Helmholtz cages, Fluxgate magnetometers, Curie Balance and Magnetised probe magnetic extraction system.

SoGEEs Fitzroy earth science laboratories 

Designed to undertake a range of geological processing and analytical techniques, the earth science research laboratories were opened in 2006 and consist of three principle areas. Wet and dry processing areas, analytical lab space, and a microscopy and imaging lab.

The wet lab is equipped to carry out sample processing for sediment analysis, micro- and macro-palaeontology, and geochemistry. From crushing and sieving, to acid digestion and solvent sample processing, all aspects of sample preparation can be undertaken here.

The dry lab has a focus on analysis, with a range of high power petrological microscopes, low power binocular microscopes, and biological microscopes available. With wireless internet connection and personal storage space both project students and staff utilise this area.

Next door is our dedicated Microscopy and imaging Lab, designed for high level microscope work and imaging, as well as housing our two microbalances for precision weighing.

We have a number of different microscopes and imaging equipment in the lab including our Nikon Eclipse LV100POL providing transmission and reflectance microscopy for polished blocks, thin sections and resin mounted grains or specimens. The mounted Nikon DSFi1 digital camera and the NIS-elements imaging software enables high resolution image capture. Our second Nikon Eclipse 50iPOL is dedicated to Cathodoluminescence (CL) microscopy. Mounted with an Optical Cathodoluminescence Stage and cold-cathode electron gun (CITL Cathodoluminescence Mk 5.2), this microscope can be used in the petrographic analysis of sediments. The lab also houses a Canon EOS 7D with 2 macro lens, the EFS 60mm and the MP-E 65mm 1-5X, for specimen photography. This camera can be mounted on to both high and low power microscopes, as well as used on the camera copy stand with lighting. With dedicated imaging software for the camera, and the Helicon Focus stacking software, high resolution three dimensional images of material can be taken.

Geochemical and sample preparation facilities

As part of SoGEES, the research centre has access to a wide range of analytical and sample preparation equipment. Examples of such equipment include 1) an Isoprime instruments isotope ratio mass spectrometer, with Multiflow and EA modular attachments; 2) a Plasma-Quad PQ2+ Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer; 3) a Varian 725-ES Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer ; 4) a Varian Spectra Atomic Absorption spectrometer; 5) a CE instruments EA110 Carbon-Hydrogen-Nitrogen-Sulphur Elemental Analyser; 6) a Phillips PW1792 X-ray diffractometer with High-Score Plus identification software; 7) a Logitech PM5 lapping machine for thin section preparation; 8) a Buehler Petropol polishing system.

The Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre

As part of the University the research centre has access, via the Electron Microscopy Centre, to both scanning and transmission electron microscopes. These include 1) a JEOL 6100 High resolution Scanning Electron Microscope with: Oxford Instruments Cryo-stage imaging of frozen, fully hydrated specimens and a Oxford instruments Inca X-Ray micro-analysis suite providing full analytical capability, including quantitative elemental analysis and element mapping; 2) a JEOL 5600 Low Vacuum high resolution Scanning Electron Microscope which operates in conventional high vacuum and low vacuum modes; 3) a JEOL 5200 conventional Scanning Electron Microscope for general purpose microscope with full digital image acquisition/processing; 4) a JEOL 1200 high resolution 120Kv Transmission Electron Microscope with integrated digital image capture and SIS Image analysis software suite.