The Plasma Mass Spectrometry Laboratory



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The Plasma Laboratory provides the tools necessary for characterizing the chemical and isotopic compositions of materials, including the ability to provide analyses at micron scale resolution. Our research agenda is broad and reaches beyond the fields of Earth and Planetary Sciences (i.e., including Chemistry, Life Sciences, Material Sciences, Forensic Sciences, Archeology, and beyond).

Our primary focus is using the chemical and isotopic analyses of materials to elucidate the processes involved in the origin and evolution of the Earth and other terrestrial bodies in the solar system. Our students and faculty are involved in a spectrum of studies, including crustal differentiation, chemical fractionation processes involved in core-mantle separation, the nature, evolution, and timing of differentiation of planets and planetismals, the condensation behavior of elements in the solar nebula, forensic studies, and other topics. Much of our research is conducted in collaboration with faculty members from other departments at UMD, as well as scientists from other universities and research institutions in this country and abroad.

Opportunities For Undergraduates

Geology undergraduates and others with background in chemistry and/or physics are invited to participate in research with members of the Plasma Laboratory . Research opportunities include hands on experience in chemical and/or isotopic analyses and data processing. In addition, undergraduate geology majors can structure their GEOL 393/394 capstone research project based on data gathered in the Plasma Laboratory.

Interested students should contact Bill McDonough for further information.  

Left: Sam Crossley, a graduate student in the Department of Geology

Right: Kevin Gima, the current undergraduate research assistant

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