Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry

The Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) Laboratory is under the supervision of Dr J.D. Walker. The KU TIMS laboratory in Nichols Hall houses a 1987 version, full automated VG Sector variable 6-collector TIMS with a 10-sample turret, Daly multiplier, optical pyrometer, etc. The Sector was purchased with substantial funding from NSF and is still a state-of-the-art instrument: renovations during the summer of 1995 overhauled the collector cups and replaced the analog Daly system with an ion-counting system for an order of magnitude improvement in sensitivity. High-precision Sr and Nd analyses are routine; typical external and internal previsions for these elements are +/- 20 ppm. Pb analysis on rocks and minerals is also routine: we analyze as little as 25 pg total Pb with blank levels of 0.5 to 3 pg. Replicate analyses of standards give reproducibility of fractionation better than 0.0025%/amu. The main emphasis of TIMS at KU is for geochronology (especially U-Th bearing accessory minderal such as zircon, monazite, rutile, and titanite) and petrologic studies. The low Pb blanks and high sensitivity of our VG Sector allow for routine high-precision geochronological studies. In addition, 235U and 230Th spiked samples can be analyzed by isotope dilution by TIMS as well as ICP-MS.

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Upcoming Colloquium


2/25/21: Dr. Katherine Ryker, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina

3/25/21: Dr. Jonathan Payne, Professor, Geological Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

4/8/21: Dr. Peter Burgess, Professor of Sedimentary Geology and Head of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

4/29/21: Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Professor, Geoecology & Carbonate Sedimentology and Director of the Center for Marine Environmental Science, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany.

Geology Scholarship

The 2021-2022 Academic-Year Undergraduate Scholarship Award Application is now online.
Complete the online form to be considered for the scholarship award.