About

The lab is co-directed by Profs. Clark Johnson and Brian Beard, who have overseen a broad range of research in stable and radiogenic isotopes over nearly three decades. The initial lab was built in 1987, and consisted of a small clean chemistry lab and a Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS), and research was exclusively focused on high-temperature problems in the radiogenic Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, and U-Th-Pb isotope systems; wondering what to call the lab, we chose “The Radiogenic Isotope Lab”. In the early 1990’s, the lab began work in low-temperature geochemistry, including research in anthropology, paleo-oceanography, and sedimentary provenance. The lab also began to push the boundaires of what can be done with TIMS, including work on Lu-Hf isotopes and stable Fe isotopes, both of which are extremely difficult by TIMS. The lab was significantly expanded in 1999, as it began to increase its research program in stable Fe isotopes (a brand new field, essentially started by our lab), adding a multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS), including new clean lab space. Addition of a MC-ICP-MS instrument also allowed expansion of research in Lu-Hf isotopes. The clean chemistry lab was further expanded in 2005. A UV femtosecond laser ablation (fsLA) system was installed in 2009, where the focus was on in situ analysis of intermediate-mass stable isotopes. The lab expanded its stable isotope work in the early 2010’s to include Mg and Si isotopes. In 2013, a second MC-ICP-MS instrument was installed, accompanied by a major expansion of the mass spectrometry labs. We decided the old name just did not fit anymore, given the large emphasis on stable isotopes, and so, lacking any creative inspiration, we re-named the lab the “ICP-TIMS Isotope Laboratory”, based on the types of mass spectrometers in the lab.

Since the initial lab was built, 6 undergraduate theses, 29 M.S. students, 26 Ph.D. students, and 22 post-doctoral fellows have pursued major projects in the lab. Twenty-four additional students, post-docs, and researchers worked on significant projects in the lab. Our students and post-docs have gone on to pursue successful careers in teaching, research, and industry, and we are proud of them all.

Major funding has been provided by NASA and NSF, totalling over $20M, in addition to several other sources. Significant infrastructure funding has come from UW-Madison and the Department of Geoscience.

Information about the lab can be obtained from Professor Clark Johnson (clarkj@geology.wisc.edu) or Research Professor Brian Beard (beardb@geology.wisc.edu).

ICP-TIMS Isotope Laboratory
Rooms 370-372-375-376
Department of Geoscience
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1215 W. Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53706  USA