Commercial enquiries

Thermo Scientific Neptune Plus Multicollector Plasma Ionisation Mass Spectrometer

Our commercial rates vary depending upon the nature of the sample, preparation procedures, size of the project and combination of analyses requested. The range of analytical services that we offer on a commercial basis is listed below. Typically, we would offer a full a full 'rock-to-result' service — you send us a rock, we send you a result. This might include full mineral separation, chemical abrasion and analysis, plus grain mount production and cathodoluminescence imaging for laser ablation.

Sample preparation, mineral separation and mineral picking

We have comprehensive facilities for sample processing and separation of heavy minerals using shaking table, heavy liquid, and magnetic methods. The cost is dependent on the mineral species required, the sample size, and the concentration of the required mineral in the sample.

Cathodoluminescence imaging of zircon prior to laser ablation analysis

Imaging of grains is required in order to guide the positioning of laser spots during analysis.

U-(Th)-Pb geochronology by ID-TIMS

State of the art analysis of zircon and other U-bearing minerals is carried out using isotope dilution thermal ionisation mass spectrometry, including mineral picking, chemical abrasion, dissolution, ion exchange chemistry and mass spectrometry. Typically we will analyse six grains in order to derive an age, but this will depend on the nature of the material supplied. ID-TIMS analysis is extremely time consuming, and we will only undertake commercial work if it can be demonstrated that the improved precision offered by the method is required.

Contact Dan Condon for further information.

U-(Th)-Pb geochronology by laser ablation ICP-MS

The cost of laser ablation geochronology using zircon or other U-bearing minerals depends on the nature of the sample material, the complexity of the zircons (or other minerals), and the aim of the proposed analysis.

For U-Pb geochronology of an igneous sample with simple zircon crystals, 20 analyses will normally be sufficient. For more complex samples, for example with inherited cores or mixed populations, 40 analyses may be required. For provenance studies, between 60 and 120 analyses (or even more) may be required to characterise a detrital population, depending on the nature of the question to be answered.

U-Pb analysis of carbonate samples may also be undertaken. The success of this method is dependent on samples containing domains with sufficiently high U/Pb ratios. We will normally undertake some sample screening work to ensure material is suitable before proceeding with analysis.

Contact Matt Horstwood or Nick Roberts for further information.

Radiogenic tracer isotope analysis by laser ablation

We offer the following methods:

  • laser ablation Pb isotope analysis
  • laser ablation Hf isotope analysis of pre-dated igneous or detrital zircons
  • laser ablation Nd isotope analysis of apatite

Contact Ian Millar for further information.

Radiogenic isotope analysis by dissolution/ion exchange chemistry

Sample preparation costs will vary depending upon material and analytical technique requested.

  • Sr isotope composition/Rb and Sr concentrations by isotope dilution
  • Nd isotope composition/Sm and Nd concentrations by isotope dilution
  • Pb isotope composition/Pb concentration by isotope dilution
  • Hf isotope composition/Lu and Hf concentrations by isotope dilution

Contact Ian Millar or Jane Evans for further information.


For further information, contact Béatrice Bullock-von Moos.