ILEIA: Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Elemental and Isotopic Analysis
ILEIA is currently funded by a NSF Major Research Instrumentation award. This lab will house a ThermoElectron Corporation Delta V Plus stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer, with a ConFlo III Universal Interface to connect elemental analyzers for sample delivery. Two elemental analyzers are required, including a standard combustion elemental analyzer for carbon and nitrogen isotopes in organic solids, and a "TC" Elemental Analyzer that reduces any sample type (bulk, water, or gas) at 1450 C to C, H, and O gas for sample delivery. A Gas Bench II device is included, which will allow us to efficiently measure isotopes of air, as well as use headspace equilibration as an efficient means for preparing samples for analysis. The purchase of a Thermo Delta V Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer will be used to conduct analyses in a number of important areas: trophic interactions over deep time on the north Pacific using archaeological remains, to measure isotopes in plants and soils to assess plant-environment interactions, to evaluative Late Pleistocene and Holocene lacustrine productivity in those lakes to reflect both climatological and ecological processes, and to resolve questions related to environmental impacts from pollution, ecosystem processes, social behavior, and competition among large mammals. Overall, its use will be widespread in Anthropology, Geology, Chemistry and Biology to address issues of climate change, environmental organization and systematics, diet, groundwater, and paleoecology, among many areas.
The lab will also house a Thermo Xseries II ICP-MS with integrated autosampler. This instrument will be used for rapid major, minor and trace-element analyses of liquids and solids (the latter by laser ablation). The Thermo X2 represents a major advance in detector and electronic design that makes this instrument particularly useful for transient signal analysis and temporally-discriminated signals. The latter is of particular benefit in laser ablation solid sample introduction, because the ability to characterize spatial heterogeneity in solid samples can tell us about morphological variation on a variety of scales. In the past, this type of data collection has required the use of time of flight ICP-MS technology to acquire and quantify signals that fluctuate due to laser interaction with the sample. Along with the ability to run liquid samples, the X2 will use a New-Wave UP 213 laser ablation system with trinocular microscope, auto-focus, mass flow controller, glitter reduction software, computer interface and sample chambers. This equipment will be used for matrix independent microsampling of such materials as minerals, glasses, ceramics and fossils and other biological tissues. This laser will be the cornerstone of our solid sampling effort. The shorter, high energy wavelength of the UP 213 is particularly suited to a wide array of material types and produces less elemental fractionation across all masses than longer wavelength 266 nm laser devices. The purchase of a Thermo Xseries II ICP-MS with integrated autosampler with attached New-Wave UP 213 laser ablation system will be used extensively in archaeology, geology, and chemistry. Especially useful in our research along the margins of the southern Bering Sea, ICP-MS analysis of trace elements in rocks, ancient animal bone, soils, and other materials will contribute directly to ongoing research on the relationship between human activities and long term environmental change ecological impacts. Laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS) analyses will be used in multi-disciplinary studies involving archaeology, ecology, paleoclimate studies, pollution levels and other interdisciplinary research. One particular area of collaboration will be with the sourcing and analysis of volcanic tephras, which plays a key role in understanding the long-term ecological history of the western Alaska Peninsula and Sanak Island in Alaska, while other geologists will use this equipment to investigate the volcanology, geochemistry, and petrogenesis of mafic magmas and eruptive centers. The uses of this instrumentation in the chemical characterization and analysis of materials in chemistry is limitless.