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Department Research Labs


Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Lab- Professor Deanne Rogers

The Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory houses 12 fast precision workstations that enable a variety of image processing, data analysis, and modeling applications. Students from the Rogers and/or Glotch research groups work in the EPRSL laboratory on a range of projects that involve spectral analysis, planetary geologic mapping, geospatial statistics, light scattering models, thermal models, and stereogrammetry, with the objective of better understanding the physical and chemical processes that have created and modified planetary surfaces over time. 

Facility for Isotope Research & Student Training (FIRST)- Professor Troy Rasbury

This laboratory is equipped with a suite of rock preparation and wet chemistry facilities including a class 100 clean lab. Instrumentation includes a Nu Plasma II MC ICPMS, two IsotopX Phoenix TIMS, and an Agilent 7500cx quadrupole mass spectrometer. We specialize in U-Pb dating of carbonates as well as a variety of radiogenic isotopes such as Sr, Nd and Pb for provenance and correlation. A current focus is on using boron isotopes to investigate paleo-seawater chemistry as well as modern systems such as subterranean groundwater discharge and highly alkaline systems such as Mono Lake.

Stable Isotope Geochemistry Lab - Professor Gregory Henkes

The stable isotope geochemistry laboratory is equipped with two gas-souce isotope ratio mass spectrometers, a Thermo MAT 253 Plus and a Delta V Plus. The MAT 253 Plus is configured to measure clumped isotopes of carbon dioxide gas (masses 44-49), primarily generated by the acid digestion of carbonates. This is done using a custom-built common acid bath and cryogenic purification/gas chromatography device coupled to the mass spectrometer. The Delta V Plus is coupled to a Flash Elemental Analyzer configured to measure carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from combusted organic material, for example, sediments and sedimentary rocks and animal tissues. The laboratory also houses an all-glass vacuum line for cryogenic manipulation of gases, a glass blowing station, a microbalance for precise mass determination, organic and acid fume hoods, dionized water, various ovens and furnaces, and a geologic materials sub-sampling station. 

Vibrational Spectroscopy Lab- Professor Timothy Glotch

The Vibrational Spectroscopy Laboratory in the Center for Planetary Exploration specializes in carefully controlled spectroscopic measurements of Earth and planetary materials designed to enable more quantitative analysis of planetary remote sensing data. Our measurement capabilities include infrared reflectance and emission under appropriate environmental conditions for Mars and airless planetary bodies as well and nano- and micro-scale Raman and infrared reflectance mapping of extraterrestrial samples and their Earth analogs.

Energy & Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory - Qingyun Li

This is a recently renovated wet chemistry laboratory equipped with several Parr pressure vessels, an atomic force microscope (AFM), an ion chromatography (IC) system,  two fume hoods, an anaerobic chamber, a UV-Vis spectrophotometer, a low-speed diamond saw, and an ultra-low temperature freezer. We use experimental methods coupled with some modeling work to examine water-rock interactions, including their thermodynamics, kinetics, mineral alteration, and aqueous composition evolution. Systems we study are related to the environment, climate, and energy; for example, we care about carbonate formation in water remediation biofilters, carbon dioxide mineralization in geologic carbon sequestration sites, and biogeochemical reactions during underground hydrogen storage.

Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory – Professor Marine Frouin

Luminescence dating techniques are versatile methods that provide ages for a broad range of geological and archaeological contexts. Luminescence dating relies on the most common minerals on Earth – quartz and feldspar - to record the amount of natural radiation to which they have been exposed during burial. The method determines the time elapsed since the mineral grains were last exposed to a high temperature using their Thermoluminescence (TL) signal or last exposed to daylight using their Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) signal. In general, luminescence dating has a wide usable range of a few decades to about 0.5 million years (Ma) with a typical precision of 5 to 10%.

The Stony Brook luminescence dating research laboratory is on the 3rd floor of the Earth and Space Science Building. The facility consists of three rooms equipped with standard lighting conditions and three under dim, filtered amber-light conditions (referred to as ‘darkrooms’).

The rooms with standard lighting conditions encompass two wet laboratories and a meeting room with hot desks for graduate students and visitors. One wet laboratory hosts a laser diffraction particle size analyzer (Mastersizer2000), a solar simulator (Honle SOL2), and six microscopes (stereo and polarizing). The second wet laboratory hosts the low background high-resolution Broad Energy Germanium Detector (BE3830) equipped with electrical cooling (CRYO-PULSE 5 PLUS) from Mirion Technologies (Canberra) to record low levels of radiation in sediment. This instrumentation allows the laboratory to conduct high-resolution gamma spectrometry measurements on sediment samples to determine accurate and precise dose rates. This equipment does not need any specific routine maintenance and is fully accessible to SBU academics and students upon request to analyze materials.

A rotating darkroom door gives access to three darkrooms: a storage room, a wet laboratory, and a ‘reader room.’  The wet darkroom laboratory is equipped with all the facilities to extract the quartz and feldspar grains, including three fume hoods for chemical treatments. The ‘reader room’ hosts one Risoe OSL/TL luminescence reader to stimulate and detect the light emissions from minerals and perform XRF measurements. A second Risoe OSL/TL reader equipped with a single-grain OSL attachment will be installed in March 2022.   

NMR spectroscopy Lab – Professor Brian Phillips

The NMR lab for mineralogical and geochemical research is housed in the Chemistry building basement adjacent to the chemistry node of the Stony Brook NMR Facility.  The lab includes two NMR spectrometers configured for experiments primarily on solid materials.  A 2-channel 400 MHz (9.4 T magnet) Varian Inova instrument provides routine data for a wide range of nuclei of interest to geoscientists (e.g., 31P, 27Al, 13C, 29Si, 1H).  It is equipped with probe assemblies configured for 7.5 mm, 4.0 mm, and 3.2 mm rotors (outside diameter), for sample sizes ranging from 450 to 22 microliters.   The second instrument is a 3-channel 500 MHz (11.7 T magnet) Varian Infinity-Plus spectrometer that is used for routine data collection at higher magnetic field, and double-resonance experiments between many different pairs of nuclei (e.g., 31P/13C, 27Al/19F, 11B/13C).  It is equipped with a broad-band 3-channel probe configured for 4 mm rotors, plus conventional 2-channel probes configured for 1.2, 3.2, 4.0, and 5.0 mm rotors for spinning rates up to 60 kHz.

The Experimental Petrology Lab- Professor Hanna Nekvasil

The Experimental Petrology Laboratory houses equipment that simulate conditions ranging from 1 bar and high temperature, as experienced by volcanic gases, to pressures and temperatures of the upper mantle, as expected in magma source regions. These include several 1 atm furnaces, a bank of hydrothermal vessels, and three piston-cylinder apparatuses, and the required support equipment. This laboratory is used for petrologic investigations related to Earth, Mars and the Moon, as well as for synthesis of minerals and glass for structural studies, alteration experiments, and isotopic and trace element analysis.