PHD students Genna Patton and Anais Fourny from the Earth, Ocean, Atmospheric Sciences department at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, have recently completed their industry internship at Nu Instruments in the UK under the MAGNET programme. Genna and Anais spent two weeks working with Application and Development Scientists in the Nu Plasma II MC-ICP-MS laboratory to learn about the science behind Mass Spectrometry and to gain first-hand experience of the process of analysing geological samples using a Mass Spectrometer.
“In the field of paleoceanography, mass spectrometers are an essential tool used in the chemical reconstruction of past ocean conditions. Given the span of time and breadth of climate conditions that we study (millions of years, from glacials to hot houses), it’s easy to forget about the complexities of the mass spectrometers which produces the data,” commented Genna.
Genna and Anais worked with Application Scientist, Dr Ye Zhao to determine the optimal measurement conditions for Iron isotopes and gained hands-on experience in sample preparation techniques and troubleshooting. “Pushing the instrument to analytical limits also meant that we needed to think carefully about the data from these experiments. Interpreting these data with a fundamental understanding of the conditions during the run was essential and Nu scientists were there to help us make the giant leap necessary to put these data in an analytical context,” added Anais
MAGNET, the Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network, is an NSERC-funded industrial stream Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program devoted to geochemistry and connects trainees with leading scientists and state-of-the-art analytical laboratories. Nu Instruments Ltd in the UK, designers and manufacturers of high performance mass spectrometers are Industry partners of the MAGNET programme.
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