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Nine Circles Facilities

The Nine Circles facilities include two laboratories; Inferno (experimental) and Paradiso (analytical).

Inferno Experimental Geochemistry Laboratory

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The Nine Circles Experimental Cosmochemistry laboratory is designed to study gas-solid reactions under conditions similar to those in the early solar system. The experimental apparatus contains four basic components:

  • A gas-handling system,
  • Furnaces,
  • Temperature monitors,
  • A quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) residual gas analyzer.

The gas-handling system maintains a ultra-high purity (99.99%) rating and is capable of mixing five different gases: H2, He, H2S, CO, and CO2. These gases are delivered to a series of MKS mass-flow controllers (MFCs) using electropolished stainless steel tubing and Swagelok VCR face-seal fittings. The mass flow controllers produce gas mixtures with variety of He/H, C/H, O/H, and S/H ratios; particularly those expected in the solar nebula.

Paradiso ICP-MS Analytical Laboratory

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The Nine Circles's analytical lab is equipped with a ThermoFinnigan ELEMENT2 High-Resolution ICP mass spectrometer and a class 100 cleanlab.

The ICP-MS setup includes a Cetac ASX-100 micro-autosampler, a Cetac ASX 260 autosampler for larger samples, and is coupled to an Ameritherm HotShot RF induction furnace. The induction furnace allows for the direct analysis of solid sample materials by intense heating.

The ICP-MS is also coupled to a CETAC LSX-213 Laser Ablation system, which delivers high intensity 213 nm, 5 nanosecond laser pulses at rates of 1-20 Hz. The homogeneous flat top energy profile of the laser produces aperture spot sizes from 10 to 200 micron while maintaining a constant energy density. The laser output energy is fully adjustable to produce as much, or as little ablation necessary to analyze virtually any solid sample - ideal for geological, forensic industrial and biological samples.

In turn the LA unit is coupled to an Avantes 2048 Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS).

The lab is also equipped with:

  • A Barnstead Easypure reverse osmosis de-ionization water system,
  • A Sartorius microbalance (100 ug sensitivity),
  • An ultramicrobalance (1 ug sensitivity),
  • Two Leica high-powered binocular microscopes (Wild M3 and Wild M10) for handling and characterization of samples.

In addition, a custom-built cold-vapor generator is available for online reduction of trace metals, particularly Hg. Trace element analyses in envoromnmental and geological samples are available for University of Arizona and outside users on a fee basis. please contact Alex Andronikov for prices and schedule.