Mawson Analytical Spectrometry Services

The Mawson Analytical Spectrometry Services (MASS) facilities offer a wide-ranging service to researchers and commercial partners.

Encompassing radiometric and stable isotopes analyses in conjunction with classical diffraction and chromatographic characterisation techniques, MASS has the capacity to deliver high quality data at a competitive cost with the value-added evaluation and interpretation of results by subject matter experts if required

Comprising three integrated facilities, Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry, Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry and Organic Molecular Analysis and Characterisation, the MASS professional staff provide an ideal wealth of analytical experience to meet your requirements

Applications include, but are not limited to, geochronology, mineral exploration, petroleum geochemistry, palaeoclimatology, soil geochemistry, mineralogy, sedimentary geochemistry, forensic investigations, industrial and synthesis chemistry, environmental research & monitoring, chemical engineering and biofuel analysis

Advantages of our commercial services

  • Industry quality and standard analysis
  • Rapid response times
  • Flexibility in volumes – from single samples to larger numbers
  • Value-added services – Subject matter experts can provide evaluation and interpretation of results
  • Quality control and standard systems at the University of Adelaide
  • Commercially trained laboratory staff
  • Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) Facility

    The Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology operates an ISOTOPX Phoenix TIMS (installed 2014) for radiogenic and non-traditional stable isotope ratio research. It has nine Faraday Cups, Daly and Ion Counters and has been upgraded with 1e12 Ω amplifiers (installed 2017)

    The facility has a long history back to 1970’s in geochronology, geochemical and environmental tracer research by academic, collaborative and commercial clients

    The TIMS Facility is located in the Mawson Laboratories and includes a HEPA filtered laboratory for clean sample chemistry. This chemistry lab houses a FumeGard NU-156 Vertical Laminar Airflow Fume Hood with ULPA filter for low blank analyses and prepFAST Automated Chromatography System

    The facility also has a New Wave MicroMill for microsampling

    Current research focus is in Nd, Sr, Pb, Ca and Cr systems

  • Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) Facility

    The Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology operates:

    • A Nu Instruments Perspective CF-IRMS and Elementar vario PYRO cube which focuses on 30Si and 18O analyses of silicates
    • Two Nu Instruments Horizon Continuous Flow IRMS (CF-IRMS), with dual-inlet capability, which focuses on 13C, 18O and 15N analyses of samples

    For sample introduction there are:

    • A EuroVector EuroEA elemental analyser for 13C, 15N, and 34S analyses (organics)
    • A EuroVector PyrOH high-temperature reduction analyser for 2H and 18O analyses (organics and inorganics)
    • A Nu Instruments GasPrep for 13C and 18O (carbonates)
    • A Nu Instruments NuCarb system for 13C and 18O (ultra-small carbonates)

    Current research focus is in palaeoclimate reconstructions, food webs, water and soil quality, and general environmental chemistry

  • Organic Molecular Analyses & Characterisation (OMAC) Facility

    Analytical services for petroleum geochemistry, palaeoclimatology, soil geochemistry, mineralogy, sedimentary geochemistry, industrial and synthesis chemistry, environmental research & monitoring, chemical engineering and biofuel analysis.

    From sample preparation such as rock cutting and crushing, extraction and size fractionation to elemental, organic and mineral characterisation and quantification.

    A range of analytical instrumentation including multiple GCMSs, EA, SRA, XRD and fractionation centrifuges.

    Commercial services available

    Sample preparation

    With an extensive suite of rock cutting, crushing, milling and sieving equipment we can offer a range of rock preparations to suit the majority of analytical and imaging requirements.

    Automated solvent extraction

    • Equipment: Thermo Dionex ASE350 with 24 cell capacity
    • Analysis: Hydrocarbon extraction from solid matrices. Rapid automated extraction process provides for reliable throughput of samples prior to whole oil or fractionated organic geochemical analyses.

    Gas chromatography - mass spectrometry and flame ionisation detection

    • Equipment: PerkinElmer AxION iQT GC-MS-MS with Cold EI capability and two quadrupole single mass resolution GC-MS instruments (Agilent 5977B & PerkinElmer SQ8T); Quantum MSSV II injection system. GC-FID capability is also available on our Agilent 7890
    • Analysis: Quantitative and qualitative analyses of whole oils and hydrocarbon fractions; oil characterisation and biomarker screening from conventionally solvent extracted samples; thermal extraction and pyrolysis extraction GC-MS allowing excellent source–oil correlation capabilities.

    Source rock analyses

    • Equipment: Weatherford Laboratories SRA TPH-TOC Workstation
    • Analysis: Rock-eval equivalent total hydrocarbon potential (TPH) & TOC analysis. This allows analysis of the S1, S2 & S3 fractions and collection of HI, OI, PI, TMax & Rocalc data key to understanding source rock potential.

    X-ray diffraction

    • Equipment: Bruker D8 Advance XRD
    • Analysis: Mineral phase determination of whole rock and clay separate fractions; qualitative and quantitative analyses on whole rock samples in addition to clay mineral phase distribution, allowing greater understanding for source rock and seal characterisation, especially helpful in determining the frackability of unconventional resources.

    Elemental analyses

    • Equipment: Perkin Elmer 2400 Series II Elemental Analyser
    • Analysis: Bulk elemental concentrations from whole rock samples for C, H, N, S & O; The total carbon concentration of a sample are also utilised to calculate the total organic carbon (TOC) concentration by back-subtraction of inorganic carbon from carbonate phases.

    Size distribution and fraction collection

    • Equipment: CPS Disc Centrifuge & PostNova CF2000
    • Analysis: Nanometer to micrometer size distribution of particulate phases and Sedimentation Field-Flow Fractionation, which separates and collects nanoparticles by size and density in the range of 50nm up to several µm.


Contact us

If you would like to carry out any of our services, discuss the capabilities in further detail, including methodologies, or simply explore the possibilities available please contact us.



The Mawson Analytical Facilities are located at:

Mawson Analytical Facilities
Mawson Building
North Terrace Campus