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Isotopic analysis capabilities boosted by new high-spec instrument

Isotopic analysis capabilities boosted by new high-spec instrument
"We don’t just do science for science sake. We strive to do science that has an impact, this is technology that can do that across a whole range of different sectors."

The James Hutton Institute celebrated reinforcing its extensive analytical chemistry capabilities for research and commercial work with a launch evening and ribbon cutting for their new Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer. The £500K investment will allow the Institute and its commercial subsidiary, James Hutton Limited, to provide inorganic isotope measurements with unrivalled levels of precision and accuracy.

Thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) is an extremely sensitive analytical technique used to measure the relative abundance of radiogenic and stable isotopes with very high precision. It is extensively used in geochemistry applications, such as in the oil and gas industry and in the environmental sector

The Lord Provost for Aberdeen, Barney Crockett, was in attendance to cut the ribbon and officially launch the new TIMS machine. He stressed the importance of investing in science: “I think cities in the future are going to need three things for success and that’s technology, talent and tolerance..

“The James Hutton Institute clearly has technology and talent in abundance. If we can build that tolerance in society towards people who want to work in this sector, I think it’s going to be an inspirational story for the city and the wider region. I hope to be supportive to what’s going on here in any way I can.”

The purchase of the new TIMS instrument has been possible through the support of James Hutton Limited, the commercial subsidiary of the James Hutton Institute, and the Macaulay Development Trust (MDT).

Honorary Researcher and MDT Trustee Bill Slee commented: “Over the last few years we have supported a whole variety of research activity at the Institute. It’s a really important source of funding and provides the opportunity to prime the pump of research, to get things moving and provide the kind of support that new ideas need.

“The new machine can provide opportunities that were not realisable with the old technology.  If this machine can help the institute enter new markets, we as trustees are absolutely delighted to help.”

Head of James Hutton Limited, Dr Jonathan Snape, added: “I think what is important to note is we don’t just do science for science sake. We strive to do science that has an impact, this is technology that can do that across a whole range of different sectors.

“This is a machine that although based here, is a resource for the whole of the area, the whole of Scotland, there aren’t many of these machines around in the world. It’s something that should be celebrated when talking about what Aberdeen has to offer.”

In the oil industry TIMS is commonly used to investigate the vertical and lateral connectivity of oil and gas reservoirs through the analysis of strontium in residual salts; this analysis can be carried out on cores that have been stored for decades or on wells where there is insufficient produced waters for analysis.

It can also be used to date sedimentary rocks by analysing isotope signatures present in fossil remains of marine creatures. The provenance age of sedimentary strata can also be determined using samarium and neodymium isotopes which is particularly useful when bio-stratigraphy is not possible.

The James Hutton Institute has instrumentation capable of carrying out isotopic analysis not just on soils and waters but on many different sample types, such as plant material, gases, phospholipid fatty acids and alkanes. For more information, visit our Isotopic Analysis page.

More information from: 

Adam Walker, Communications Officer, Tel:01224 395095 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard).


Printed from /news/isotopic-analysis-capabilities-boosted-new-high-spec-instrument on 21/08/19 11:11:53 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.