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Organic geochemistry laboratories

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About the Organic geochemistry laboratories

The organic geochemistry facility (led by Dr Jessica Whiteside) hosts a variety of instruments designed to characterise organic matter from the environment and the geological record.

The facility has dedicated sample preparation lab, wet chemistry lab space, and an instrumentation lab using the latest gas chromatographs (GC) linked to various mass spectrometers, including a GC-isotope ratio mass spectrometer.

The facility is part of the SEAPORT carbon laboratories. This represents a major expansion of out geochemical capabilities at the University of Southampton.

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Technical specification

Our facility specialises in the extraction, purification, separation, and chemical and isotopic characterization of complex organic mixtures found in biological and environmental materials.

Gas chromatography (GC) is used to separate complex mixtures of volatile compounds. A range of hyphenated techniques (for example, GC-mass spectrometry) are then used to characterise these complex mixtures.

We also operate a GC-isotope ratio mass spectrometer (GC-C-IRMS) which enables compound specific δ13C, δ15N and δ2H value determinations.

We currently operate the following instruments:

  • ThermoFisher Trace 1310 Gas Chromatograph with Flame Ionisation Detector (compound separation and quantification)
  • ThermoFisher Trace 1310 Gas Chromatograph coupled to a Thermo TSQ8000 Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (molecular identification)
  • ThermoFisher Trace 1310 Gas Chromatograph coupled to a Thermo Delta V Plus Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (compound specific δ13C, δ15N and δ2H value determinations)

Other operational features include a Thermo Accelerated Solvent Extraction (ASE) system, a Genevac EZ-2 centrifugal evaporation system and a fully outfitted wet chemistry laboratory to undertake a wide variety of sample preparation.

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