The Lab


Our strategy to study natural phenomena is: (1) to describe the distribution and composition of the phases that compose planetary materials, in terms of their elements, isotopes, textures and relationships; (2) to undertake physical and chemical calculations and modelling to understand the data obtained; and (3) to apply scientific theory to reveal the processes that formed the planetary materials.

Over the past twenty years we have developed an analytical facility and novel analytical procedures. We have created an exclusive laboratory with unique facilities and a comprehensive analytical system. We name this system the Comprehensive Analytical System for Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Materials (CASTEM).

Our Laboratory is now one of the most well equipped and technically advanced solid-state geochemistry laboratories in the world. CASTEM enables the determination of the concentration and isotopic abundances of elements, up to the highest precision and down to the lowest detection limit, in multi-scale ranges of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials.

Our vision for CASTEM, is for it to operate as a comprehensive analytical system, which continually evolves toward greater accuracy and higher spatial resolution. The data produced via this system will provide important information regarding the origin and evolution of planetary bodies, such as the Earth, Moon, Mars, and asteroids, including the origin and distribution of life.

Laboratory guide

Our building predates the installation of our laboratory. Therefore, the placement of instruments was determined by the floor plan of the building.

The Advanced Chemistry Clean laboratories represent the 'core' of CASTEM and it is where elements and isotopes are chemically separated, before the determination of elemental and isotopic compositions and abundances.

Further laboratories are positioned around the core, like satellites. Once elemental and isotopic compositions and abundances are determined precisely and accurately, the data can be used as a reference to inform analyses in the satellite laboratories.

On the Laboratory guide page you can find information about all the internal laboratories, their locations and the equipment of each laboratory.

List of instruments

All the various instruments installed in PML, from devices for sample preparation to different microscopes and spectrometers, are shown here.