At the RSES Argon Facility we have the following laboratories and instruments:

  • ARGUS VI Multicollector Mass Spectrometer with CO2 laser
  • VG1200 Mass Spectrometer with fully automated line and diode laser
  • Microscope laboratory with high power transmitted microscopes and hand-picking microscopes
  • Sample preparation laboratory for sample analysis
  • Radiation laboratory with radioactive storage safe box and sample preparation setup

Argus VI Multi-Collector Laboratory

We equipped the new state-of-art Argon laboratory so as undertake a focus on research analyse of single grains whereby precision modelling can be undertaken. We do temperature controlled step heating diffusion experiments and modelling on single grains ranging in age from billions to thousands of years old.

That is a list of hardware infrastructures on the new Argon laboratory

  • ARGUS VI Multi-collector Mass Spectrometer
  • Custom-built ultra-high vacuum extraction line
  • 2 custom-built double-vacuum resistance furnaces for step-heating experiments (being tested)
  • 2 custom-built automated sample changer for furnaces (being tested)
  • CO2 Laser
  • Automated cryogenic cold trap
  • Fully automated system with remote control (under development)

VG1200 Laboratory

The laboratory was initiated by Professor J C Jaeger, head of the Department of Geophysics, Research School of Physical Sciences (RSPhysS), in 1960, the first K/Ar laboratory in Australia, with the Ar/Ar laboratory a later addition.

The science of argon thermochronology was started by Professor Ian McDougall who set the standards and methods for this field of science here at ANU. The old argon laboratory that was designed by Professor Ian McDougall has now been developed several times by our group with remote access, cold trap and new laser being some of the main updates.

After several developments, the laboratory is utilized to run 24 hours 7 days, there is a list of available facilities and equipments at the laboratory:

  • VG1200 Mass Spectrometer
  • Custom-built ultra-high vacuum extraction line
  • Custom-built double-vacuum resistance furnace for step-heating experiments
  • Diode optic fibre laser
  • Liquid Nitrogen trap
  • Fully automated system including remote access

Microscope Laboratory

The microscope room is set up to undertake microstructural analysis, hand-picking of grains for Ar/Ar analysis and sample preparation for irradiation.

This is a list of available equipments in the microscope laboratory

  • Leitz Leica M420 with high quality digital camera for microstructural analysis
  • Leitz Leica DM-RX with high quality digital camera microstructural analysis
  • Leitz Laborlux 12Pol S
  • Leitz Laborlux 5071
  • Olympus SZ61 for hand-picking of grains
  • Olympus SZ11 for hand-picking of grains
  • Olympus BH-2
  • Accurate scale (120g ± 0.05 mg)

Preparatory Laboratory

The argon preparation room has two functions:

  1. for remote access and monitoring of the old and new argon laboratories: remote access minimizes entry into the argon laboratories by users and students undertaking argon analysis
  1. sample analysis, selection and preparation for mineral separation: area for sample selection for analysis and discussion prior to microstructural analysis and mineral separation

Irradiated Samples Laboratory

We equipped the new state-of-art OH&S compliant laboratory for preparation of irradiated samples. This laboratory has been refurbished with regularly monitored radiation level and compliance (<0.2 µSv/hr).

This is a list of resources available in the laboratory

  • Three layers lead safe box
  • Fume hood with lead-coated-glass working area
  • Lead blocks and jars for temporary storing the radioactive materials
  • Separated work bench and safe bench to optimize operators safety
  • 2 accurate scales (120g ± 0.05 mg)
  • Olympus SZ6045 microscope
  • 1500ml Ultrasonic bath
  • Geiger counter for regularly monitoring