I am the Laboratory Manager of the Plasma Mass Spectrometry Lab at the University of Maryland. As you can see from the lab home page we have a Nu Instruments ICP-MS for the high precision analysis of isotope ratios and a ThermoFinnigan Element 2 for the determination of trace element abundances. Sample introduction is by laser ablation or by solution.
My own research interests are in the origin and early evolution of planets and planetary systems. For me this is largely based on the analysis of chondritic meteorites; partially digested leftovers from the formation of the planets in our Solar System. These primitive chondritic meteorites are made up of material that was processed in the solar nebula just before or penecontemporaneously with the accumulation of materials that would eventually coalesce to form planets. The material that escaped later accretion into planets, to have their memories erased by geological processing, has survived in asteroids. Finally they get delivered to us as meteorites, largely unchanged for 4.55 billion years. By looking at the mineralogy, petrology, chemistry and isotopic abundances in these objects we try to understand the conditions in which they formed and the processes of planet building.
Experience with electron microscope and electron microprobe; analytical transmission; electron microscopy; electron diffraction; x-ray fluorescence; ICP-AES; and, infra-red spectroscopy.
Since coming to the University of Maryland in 2000 I, together with Claude Dalpe and William McDonough, have built a state of the art mass spectrometry laboratory. This lab houses 2 inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometers (ICP-MS) and 2 deep-UV laser ablation systems. Some of my research involves the development of instrumentation and applications. In our ICP-MS laboratory we have analyzed a wide range of materials for their chemical and isotopic compositions, including such diverse samples as:
- airborne contaminants from a super-fund cleanup site.
- archaeological artifacts and human remains.
- biological tissues/fluids for trace metal levels.
- experimental petrology run products.
- desert varnish, invertebrates, etc. - environmental studies.
- minerals (e.g., silicates, oxides, carbonates, phosphates, sulfides, metals).
- novel thin film materials.
- semi-conductor experimental products.
- steels and other new metal compounds for material science.
- water samples, including seawaters and fresh waters.