The Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory is well equipped with modern facilities
which were funded by C$3.7 million grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation,
the province of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan. We are also
developing new techniques, systems and equipment in-house so as to remain
at the cutting edge of isotope research.
Gas Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (GIRMS)
GIRMS is used for the analysis of isotope systems normally referred
to as 'stable' isotopes. Examples are H, O, C and N. GIRMS equipment
available at the SIL include:
- MAT 253 with Kiel sample introduction system
- Delta Plus with TC/EA and EA sample introduction systems
- MAT 251
- MAT 250
These are used to 'carve out' extremely small volumes of carbonate, wood or other
samples in a controlled manner.
Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (TIMS)
TIMS is the traditional technique used for the analysis of
'radiogenic' isotopes. Example systems are Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, U-Th-Pb,
Pb-Pb and Ca. TIMS equipment available at the SIL includes:
Plasma Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (PIMS)
PIMS is a modern technology, particularly in the form of multicollector
mass spectrometers and is based on the introduction of sample to a
mass spectrometer via an inductively coupled plasma. For this reason,
these machines are also commonly referred to Multi-Collector
Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometers (MC-ICPMS). PIMS may be used
for the analysis of many of the isotope systems previously analysed
by TIMS, but also permits the analysis of systems not easily done by
TIMS. Examples of these latter isotope systems are Cr, Zn, Mo, Cu, Fe.
Preparation of samples for TIMS and PIMS analysis requires the use
of ultraclean laboratories to ensure that contamination is minimised.
The SIL facility includes a Class 10 000 laboratory with several Class
100 laminar flow workstations. All reagents used in this laboratory
are further purified using sub-boiling distillation or ion exchange