In November 2016, Earth and Environmental Sciences took possession of a series of new sample preparation and wet-chemistry laboratories, including a metal-free clean laboratory. The same year, GeoQuEST contributed funds to a SMAH Research Equipment Grant Scheme Application that enabled the purchasing of key scientific equipment for the new clean laboratory. This equipment included, 14 ANALAB metal-free hotplates + temperature controllers, 4 ductless vertical laminar flow cabinets, and a Merck ELIX water purification system to connect to an already existing MilliQ system.
The clean laboratory is equipped with two custom-built high-capacity fume cupboards suitable for the fuming of multi-litre volumes of hydrofluoric acid and perchloric acid, and two custom-built evaporation stations, each with six independent evaporation chambers. Together with the laminar flow cabinets purchased with GeoQuEST support, and two additional ductless fume cupboards, the setup means that the clean laboratory is unique in Australia in terms of quality of services and versatility.
The new laboratory provides a collaborative space that is shared by researchers from various disciplines. It supports a diverse research programme of global significance that builds on existing SMAH strengths and research institutes (e.g. GeoQuEST, CAS, Molecular Horizons) and also adds new collaborative opportunities. The research programme consists of the following major research themes:
- landscape evolution and the regulation of Earth’s climate,
- the environmental response to Quaternary climate change,
- contributing to a chronology of human evolution, and
- new tools to investigate the role of metals in neurodegenerative diseases.
Equipment below left to right
14 ANALAB metal-free hotplates + temperature controllers | 4 ductless vertical laminar flow cabinets | Merck ELIX water purification system