Equipment funding underpins cutting-edge research

16 Jun 2016
 Jian-xin Zhao.
New laser system just bought and installed in the School using Major Research Facility funding. It is the RESOlution laser system from Australian Scientific Instruments. Photo: Jian-xin Zhao.

A next generation $1.1 million laser-based mass spectrometer  is part of $2.5 million funding  at The University of Queensland which will create new research opportunities for Australian universities in a variety of medical and scientific fields.

The School of Earth Sciences at UQ is part of consortium including  QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Griffith University  who are collaborating to acquire  this new equipment for  Queensland researchers.

The spectrometer  will allow students and staff to undertake research in earth science, mining, coral reef biodiversity, global change, archaeology, environmental monitoring, and biomedical studies in cancer and for human drug trials.

Professor Jian-xin Zhao of the School of Earth Sciences said the purchase of the equipment would not only consolidate UQ’s world-leading position in earth, environmental, ecological and archaeological sciences.

-it will also serve as a scientific centrepiece for the Brisbane Geochronology Consortium, which is jointly promoted by researchers at UQ and Griffith

“This equipment is strategically important to maintain and further promote UQ and Queensland’s  already well-established international standing and reputation in metal isotope tracing and dating for multi-disciplinary research.”

The spectrometer will be based in the Radiogenic Isotope Facility (RIF) in the School of Earth Sciences.

The Radiogenic Isotope Facility’s existing earlier generation instrument attracts users from other Australian and international institutions, and is so popular it routinely operates 24/7.

Over $2.5 million will be invested in research equipment and infrastructure in the Faculty of Science through this year’s Major Equipment and Infrastructure (MEI) grants and Major Research Facility Fund (MRFF).

The  School of Earth Sciences has also received funding for  a dual inlet isotope ratio mass spectrometer for earth sciences, hydrology, environmental and medical research to be based in the Stable Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory (SIGL).  

Professor Sue Golding in the School of Earth Sciences said that the new equipment would service cross-disciplinary research for UQ’s  Schools of Earth Sciences, Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, the Geotechnical Engineering Centre and the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre.

“The increased throughput and smaller sample size enabled by the purchase of this equipment will allow the wider application of multi-isotope systems in paleoclimatology and hydrology,” she said.

“It will greatly enhance the capacity of UQ researchers to develop and exploit new proxy targets for palaeoclimate reconstruction.”