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Analysis of Rock Samples
We have two capabilities for the measurement of helium isotopes in rock, volcanic glass, and mineral samples.
Crushing: We have three rock-crushing devices that allow us to sample helium and neon trapped in vesicles in samples and mineral separates. Samples are placed in the vessels and evacuated. Blanks can be run to ensure there are no contribution from surface adsorption. Samples are crushed using magnetically actuated stainless steel pistons, and the evolved gas harvested in the fully automated gas processing line. The samples are previewed using a Hiden quadrupole mass spectrometer and subsequently purified, cryogenically separated, and split (if required) to inject a pure helium fraction into the mass spectrometer for analysis.
Melting: Minerals can be melted in our low-blank UHV furnace that operates to a maximum of 2000 C. The samples are loaded into a 6 position manifold that sequentially drops samples into the furnace crucible. Step-wise heating can be performed as well.
We also measure gas samples (see second figure on this page).