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Clean Lab (ERB-5118, A, B)

The clean laboratory incorporates design principles successfully used in our previous clean lab facility, and those operating at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The clean laboratory suite includes three fully exhausted, fully HEPA-filtered rooms each separated from each other by >0.05″ w.c. of cascading positive pressure:

  1. A dedicated oven room (ERB-5118A) for high-T, high-P sample dissolutions in Parr vessels, including a polypropylene hood, which also serves as an airlock into ERB-5118 with a 2 cubic foot polypropylene interlocked passthrough for ease of transfer of samples between laboratories.
  2. A larger general chemistry laboratory (ERB-5118) with: three six-foot, Class 10, HEPA-filtered horizontal laminar flow acid hoods for reagent preparation (sub-boiling distillation), hot-plate sample dissolution and open beaker dry-down; one six-foot, ULPA-filtered, Class 10 vertical laminar flow workstation for microcolumn separations; and dedicated exhausted bench work spaces for radiogenic isotope chromatographic separations, including the Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Lu-Hf and U-Th-Pb systems in rock, mineral and water matrices.
  3. A dedicated interior laboratory (ERB-5118B) for ultra-low blank U-Th-Pb chemistry under two six-foot, ULPA-filtered, Class 10 vertical laminar flow workstations.

Support equipment in the clean laboratories include a dedicated Millipore Elix/Milli-Q Gradient ultra-clean water system, quartz and teflon PFA sub-boiling distillation units for ultra-clean reagent preparation, laboratory balances, zoom binocular microscopes, centrifuge, hot plates for low-pressure rock digestion, and a variety of teflon PFA ion chromatographic supports housed in custom-built evacuated acrylic column boxes.


Clean lab antechamber and dedicated oven room for high-T, high-P dissolution of accessory minerals. Door to right accessing the tracer isotope clean laboratory, ERB-5118.
weightableThis view of the tracer isotope clean lab shows both the entry from ERB-5116, and a weighing station with Mettler XS205 and PB1502-S balances.
milliporeBuilding-wide deionized water is fed to through Millipore Elix 5 UV and Milli-Q Gradient to provide ultra-pure water for the clean lab.
hotplatesHEPA-filtered hood with custom made hotplates and heat lamps for cleaning, sample dissolution and sample dry down. All wiring is protected in teflon shrink-tubing, and proportional controllers are located outside of the hood.
upbhoodleftULPA-filtered, exhausted 6′ vertical laminar flow workstation (Microzone) in interior U-Th-Pb clean room, accessed from and at >0.05″ w.c. positive pressure relative to tracer isotope clean lab (door just off-camera to left).


The tracer isotope clean lab, ERB-5118 houses three 6 ft. HEPA-filtered Microzone horizontal laminar flow Acid Hoods.


This view shows a 6 ft. Microzone vertical laminar flow workstation, entry from the oven antechamber (left) and door into the U-Th-Pb clean lab (right).
columnboxesThree exhausted custom-built acrylic column boxes for primary cation separation, and Rb-Sr, Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd clean-up chemistry.
stillsHEPA-filtered hood for reagent purification: two double quartz glass sub-boiling distillation units (Allen Scientific Glass) are used for HCl and nitric acid purification, and two teflon double stills (Savillex) are used for HF and organic solvent purification.
upbhoodrightSecond of two exhausted 6″ vertical laminar flow workstations (with Mettler AB265-S balance and steromicroscope) for U-Th-Pb accessory mineral and other microcolumn chemical separations. A curtain of air isolates the interior of the hood from the laboratory.

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