Labs and facilities

Stable Isotope Lab

The Nevada Stable Isotope Laboratory at the University of Nevada-Reno is well-equipped with instrumentation to perform stable isotope analyses of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur for a variety of sample types.  Liquid waters are analyzed for deltaD and delta18O using a spectroscopic analyzer, while all other samples are analyzed by gas-source electron-impact stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry.


  • Picarro L2130-i spectroscopic isotope water analyzer, with high precision vaporizer and autosampler for automated injection of liquid waters
  • Two Micromass IsoPrime stable isotope ratio mass spectrometers
  • Two Eurovector EA3000 dual-furnace elemental analyzers (one with a maximum furnace temperature of 1300°C, and the other with a maximum furnace temperature of 1100°C)
  • Eltra ON-900 analyzer for the measurement of oxygen and/or nitrogen concentrations in refractory materials
  • Eltra CS-800 analyzer for the measurement of carbon and sulfur concentrations in refractory materials
  • Glass vacuum extraction line, for manual preparation and purification of samples for isotope analysis

Lab contact

Simon Poulson,

Infrared Spectroscopy Lab

The lab hosts bench top and field instruments for measurement of reflected light spectroscopy from 0.4 to 25 μm. Applications are geared toward bulk sample analysis for remote sensing field validation, hand sample and drill core and cutting material, and planetary analog studies.

Lab contact

Wendy Calvin,

The Mackay Microbeam Lab

The Mackay Microbeam Laboratory instrumentation provides powerful tools to investigate micron to sub-micron scale characteristics of minerals, metals, and other substrates. Our JEOL 7100 FE-SEM is fitted with secondary electron (SE), backscatter electron (BSE), and cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging detectors, along with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) detectors for chemical and crystal orientation analyses. The ability to perform large-area mapping allows for collection of high-spatial resolution chemical and crystal orientation data for research in Earth Sciences, Chemistry, and Materials Engineering. The W-filament SEM is an essential tool that provides excellent SE and BSE images of larger-scale characteristics (10–100s microns) and EDS chemical compositions for identification of minerals and materials.

Image of crystal-like formations taken by the scanning electron microsope.


  • The lab hosts two scanning electron microscopes (SEM), one with resolution to 10nm and a high resolution system with sub-nm resolution

Slope Stability Lab

Equipment and facilities for test and analysis of rock mechanical properties including elastic and brittle failure, rock mass modulus, tri- and uni-axial compressive strength, shear strength and point load.

Lab contact

Bob Watters,