Thursday, 21 March 2019  


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The Department has well-equipped laboratories, offices, conference rooms, and workshops, all situated on a park-like nine-acre campus in northwestern Washington, DC, which it shares with the Geophysical Laboratory.  Basic scientific research is conducted in four buildings, the oldest of which dates from 1911 and the youngest of which dates from 2005. The facilities housed in these buildings are used for an array of experimental, theoretical, observational and scholarly studies.

[Carnegie Campus] The Department's modern computing facilities are used in all areas of training and research. Its local area network provides a distributed computing environment with all computers having high-speed access to the Internet. The computer platforms include approximately 40 SUN workstations, a dozen Compaq alpha workstations, several Pentium-based PCs, and a variety of Apple MACs. Equipment exists for the production of computer-generated videos. Also available for use are half a dozen high-quality color printers, a high-resolution color scanner, a large Calcomp digitizer, and a large format color printer.

[Ion Probe] Over the years, DTM staff have developed a large number of unique instruments of their own design such as seismometers, strainmeters, mass spectrometers, a large radius ion probe, and image-tube spectrograph systems. In some cases commercially constructed instruments now have superseded these home-built instruments. Current geochemical facilities include a Triton thermal ionization mass spectrometer, a Nu high-resolution multicollector ICP-MS, an Axiom high resolution single collector ICP-MS, a Photon Machines excimer laser ablation sampling system, a Cameca 6F ion-probe, a NanoSIMS – 50L ion-probe, several clean wet chemistry laboratories for sample processing, and rock sample preparation and mineral separation equipment.  These instruments are used for a wide range of geochemical applications that require isotope ratio and trace element concentration measurements. Current research applications in the thermal and plasma ionization mass spectrometers include the analysis of B, Mg, Cr, Ti, Sr, Ag, Ba, Nd, Sm, Hf, Os, and Pb isotopic compositions with isotope dilution concentration measurements of B, K, Rb, Sr, Pd, Ag, Cs, Ba, REE, Hf, PGEs, Re, Os, Pb, and U. The Cameca 6F ion-probe is used for a wide variety of applications where spatial resolution is critical, from trace element measurements on individual minerals and fluid/melt inclusions to isotopic measurements of C, O, Mg, Si, S, Ca, Ti and Fe in both terrestrial, meteoritic, and extra-solar materials. The NanoSIMS pushes spatial resolution even further, allowing isotope analysis at the sub-micron scale.

Additional facilities, including a JOEL JSM-6500 field emission SEM,  a JOEL Superprobe electron microprobe, and stable isotope mass spectrometers for sulfur, carbon, and oxygen, are available at the Geophysical Laboratory. The Department has well-equipped and well-staffed machine and electronics shops for the development and construction of new components to support this instrumentation.

DTM and the Geophysical Laboratory have a joint library, which contains 40,000 volumes (including journals, books, and maps), electronic access to the major journals relevant to ongoing research, as well as a variety of electronic databases related to the various investigations of the two departments. Library staff provide reference assistance to researchers, conduct on-line literature searches, and arrange interlibrary loans of material from several major research libraries in the area.
The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and the Geophysical Laboratory are committed to a cleaner environment. All used electronics are recycled through an independent woman-owned company, certified by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Click here for information about the Geophysical Laboratory's facilities.