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

Micromilling devices

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:
  • Triton
  • MAT 261

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.
  • Neptune

Ultraclean laboratory

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 processes.