Equipment and Facilities

The EEGL has two dedicated laboratory spaces:
(1) A 1000-ft2 PC1 (Physical Containment Level 1) laboratory, consisting of two rooms that are set up for work on mineral behaviour, geomicrobiology and aqueous geochemistry.
(2) An environmental powder X-ray diffractometer laboratory (photos to be posted). We have a Bruker D8 Advance PXRD for dedicated use by our group and collaborators. This instrument is customized for (a) high throughput data acquisition using a 105-position sample changer robot and (b) in situ XRD experiments under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity using an Anton-Paar CHC+ (Cryo and Humidity Chamber).

The EEGL maintains a large suite of equipment for use in the laboratory, the field, and at synchrotron light sources. Some of the larger and fairly unique items of equipment are described below as are some of our favourite laboratory essentials. Our facility is exceptionally well equipped for laboratory-based experiments under controlled environmental conditions. We also maintain a range of field equipment for sedimentology, water sampling and analysis in both mining environments and natural landscapes.

We are fortunate to have access to other world class analytical facilities at the University of Alberta, including those in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, nanoFAB, Natural Resources Analytical Facility and Biogeochemistry Analytical Service Laboratory. The University of Alberta is located within a ~5 hour drive of the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon.

Two InstruQuest HumiSys programmable relative humidity generators: (1) HumiSys HF (high flow generator, 5 L/min) and (2) HumiSys LF (low flow generator, 0.5 L/min). The high flow unit is ideal for use with an environmental stages on a laboratory powder X-ray diffractometer (XRD). The low flow generator works very well in synchrotron powder XRD capillary flow-through experiments.

InXitu Terra Portable XRD/XRF (“Terry”). This is a field portable powder X-ray diffractometer and X-ray fluorescence analyser. Terry is a seasoned field instrument as well as a Qantas and Jetstar frequent flyer.

Los Gatos Research Carbon Dioxide Isotope Analyzer (CCIA-36-EP). This instrument provides simultaneous measurement of δ13C and δ18O of CO2 gas either continuously or from discrete samples of gas and carbonate minerals.

Coy anaerobic chamber with two work stations. This chamber allows work to be done with redox sensitive compounds and anaerobic microbes under anoxic conditions.

A bank of 4 incubators that are used for cultivation work, mineral–microbe interaction experiments and mineral behaviour experiments under non-ambient temperatures. Some of our many desiccators and vacuum chambers can be seen in the windowsill.

2 full-sized fume hoods equipped with compressed air, natural gas, nitrogen and vacuum lines, with under bench storage for flammables and acids. These are located in a second room attached to the main room of our laboratory to minimize noise exposure. We also have natural gas plumbed to bench top in the main room of our laboratory.

3 standard refrigerators and 1 –20 °C freezer can also be found in the laboratory.

2 LN2 dry shippers. We share a giant liquid nitrogen dry shipper (shown here) and a smaller airplane-friendly dry shipper with Maya Bhatia’s Lab in EAS.

A McCrone Micronizing Mill, which is a specialized mill used for preparation of samples for quantitative powder X-ray diffraction work.

3 bench top centrifuges. We have 1 regular centrifuge and 2 microcentrifuges. This includes Fieldie II (far right) who accompanies us on road trips in the Rocky Mountains.

Small equipment. We have a number of other laboratory staples including, but not limited to: 3 shaker tables (one seen above), 1 microwave, 3 large hotplate stirrers (one with 4 positions), 1 15-position stirrer, a 4-channel programmable peristaltic pump, a Hach portable UV-VIS spectrometer, 2 Orion field-portable pH-ISE-EC-DO-T meters, 1 Orion laboratory pH-EC-T meter, 1 ThermoFisher autotitrator, 1 rotary carousel spinner, 5 aquaria for large-scale cultivation experiments, a freeze drier, 2 water baths, 2 ultrasonic baths, 3 traceable hygrometers, and many desiccator cabinets and vacuum chambers.