Metal Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory

The Metal Isotope Geochemistry laboratory (Environmental and Information Technology Building, room 5023) is overseen by PI Dr. Brian Kendall. Funding was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Research Fund, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Science. 

The facility supports analysis of rock, mineral, petroleum, water, archeological and biological samples for research programs in economic geology, petroleum systems, tectonics, petrology, structural geology, environmental issues, human migration, biogeochemistry, and co-evolution of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and life.

Instrumentation includes a NuPlasma II multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer for non-traditional stable isotope and radiogenic isotope analyses, an Agilent 8800 triple quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer for elemental concentration and uranium-lead isotope analyses, a Photon Machines Analyte G2 laser ablation system for in-situ microscale elemental and isotope analysis using either or both mass spectrometers, an ULTRAWAVE microwave digestion system, twelve Parr bombs for high-pressure sample digestion, a Retsch planetary ball mill PM 200 (with agate and stainless steel grinding jars) for sample grinding, and two muffle furnaces with graphite and ceramic crucibles. Additional sample preparation and petrographic equipment are available in the Rock Preparation Laboratory in the department.

Chemical preparation of samples for solution analysis is supported by a class 10,000 HEPA-filtered clean laboratory that is equipped with four ULPA-filtered acid-exhaust hoods, a MilliQ Advantage A10 water purification system with Q-POD Element unit, two Savillex DST-1000 acid distillation systems, four Analab PFA-coated graphite hot plates, a custom-made drying hood, and a high-precision Mettler Toledo weighing balance. 

*** For user fee inquiries, please contact Dr. Brian Kendall ( for more information regarding wet chemistry sample preparation in the clean laboratory and solution analyses on the Agilent 8800 and NuPlasma II. Please contact Dr. Chris Yakymchuk ( regarding laser ablation analyses on the Agilent 8800 and Nu Plasma II or use of the Retsch planetary ball mill and petrography equipment. We have collaborative and non-collaborative rates for academic and non-academic clients. ***

Laboratory photographs are below:

  • Mass Spectrometry Lab
  • ULTRAWAVE Microwave
  • Nu Plasma II MC-ICP-MS
  • Analyte G2 Laser Ablation System
  • Agilent 8800 QQQ-ICP-MS
  • Clean Lab Balance Room
  • Clean Lab Laminar Flow Hood with Acid Distillation Stills
  • Clean Lab Water Purification System
  • Muffle Furnaces
  • Clean Lab Laminar Flow Hood with Hot Plate