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National facility for isotope and element analysis of natural materials

Jack Middelburg and Gert-Jan Reichart, working at Utrecht University and affiliated to the Darwin Center, have been awarded a ‘NWO-Groot’ grant of 3,403,000 euros. This grant will be used to purchase an electron microprobe and a nanoSIMS, an imaging ion probe. The facility will be used to link the activity and identity of organisms, to integrate experimental and geological field research and to improve climate reconstructions.


Versatile research tool

Improvements in the capability to measure trace elements and isotopes at high accuracy and precision are pivotal in obtaining major breakthroughs in geochemistry, petrology, biogeochemistry and paleoclimatology/ecology. Recently developed nanoSIMS instruments combine high accuracy, high precision, high sensitivity and high mass resolution with high spatial resolution (~ 100 nm). These unique features of nanoSIMS make it an extremely versatile research tool for a broad spectrum of disciplines as is evident by the installation of nanoSIMS at medical, biological, cosmochemical, material science and geoscience laboratories.


National facility

The application was done in collaboration with researchers from Naturalis/NCB, VU University Amsterdam, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). In 2012 the equipment will be installed at Utrecht University. The facility will be truly national and open for any kind of research through a peer review system.