We offer advices on what is possible, and the best way to attain the best results.

We can facilitate the following procedures as necessary:

  • Collecting the rock sample
  • Microstructural analysis
  • Microchemical analysis
  • 40Ar/39Ar analysis of the grains
  • Interpretation of analysis
  • Modelling of diffusion experiments
  • Publication material or full reports as required or discussed

We specialise in 40Ar/39Ar furnace step heating and/or laser fusion of a variety of rocks and minerals, including amphiboles, biotites, fuschite, white micas (phengite, muscovite), feldspars (K-feldspars, plagioclase). We also work with whole-rock materials, typically extrusive volcanic rocks if a project necessitates it.

Sample Preparation

Complete sample preparation can be done here at RSES. Separation differs from sample to sample after discussion the most appropriate method will be undertaken. This will be done to suit what grains are to be analysed, what structures are to be dated, the character of the rock (e.g. gneiss or mica-schist), what method or technique is to be used for analysis and the estimated age of the rock. Costs for separation will be discussed to suit the necessary requirements.

Separated grains can also be supplied to our laboratory. We can check and prepare these grains for irradiation and analysis.

Microstructural Analysis

As the main research focus of this laboratory is dating deformation, it is important that microstructural analysis is understood prior to analysis.

You may already have a full understanding of your sample, in which case the analysis technique can be discussed and grain separation undertaken as required.

If however you need characterisation of your sample to be done, we have the facilities here at RSES to do this for you. Students are welcome to be involved in this process to the degree which suits them. Students are welcome to be involved in the whole process and we would recommend this to PhD students. Costing will be discussed to suit your requirements.


Here at the RSES Argon facility we are able to undertake:

  • temperature-controlled furnace step-heating diffusion experiments
  • laser step-heating analysis (reconnaissance step-heating)
  • spot fusion analysis on single grains

NOTE: each of these techniques is chosen to suit different scientific needs and each will have different costs. Please discuss with us what technique will suit your needs.