We are located within the Water Science and Engineering Laboratory (a.k.a. Water Chemistry Lab) along the shores of Lake Mendota and in the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus.
We have the state-of-the-art facilities necessary to complete all facets of ultra-clean trace metal studies. These include, but are not limited to, clean rooms, three dedicated high purity water systems (Millipore and Barnstead), HEPA-filtered acid cleaning and analytical areas, Teflon equipment for sample collection and processing (clean Boston Whalers, Teflon sampling equipment designed during the Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study), the use of ultra-pure reagents and acids for sample preservation and analysis, and three Hg analyzers (Tekran and Brooks Rand) that are sensitive enough to quantify HgT and MeHg concentrations at ambient levels. In addition, we also have cold rooms, ovens, culture chambers, autoclaves, lyophilizers, and freezers in our facility.
Floor plans for 2 of our clean rooms (*.pdf file).
For isolating colloidal material, we have three ultrafiltration systems that use regenerated cellulose membranes (Millipore) at 100 KDa and 10 KDa (~0.01 mm and 0.001 mm, respectively). Our lab has recently completed an exhaustive study to ensure the systems are clean for freshwater trace-metal research (Hoffmann et al. 1997; Shafer et al 1997; Babiarz et al 1997).
Culture facilities for phytoplankton and zooplankton include a Sherer walk-in chamber (1.5 m x 3.5 m x 4.5 m) that can be regulated for temperature and photoperiod. In addition, there is a smaller incubation unit with heating and cooling control, and a shaker that can be used for phytoplankton experiments.
A Waters high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) system provides capabilities for planktonic pigment analyses. Major cations will be analyzed on a Perkin Elmer Plasma II sequential ICP-OES with autosampler.
We have an ICP-MS located in a HEPA-filtered trace metal-dedicated clean room at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH). Additional equipment at this facility includes a HEPA-filtered exhausting fume hood, a laminar flow clean bench, and a high purity water system. The ICP-MS is a Fisons VG PlasmaQuad IIä Plus running with Maglev turbo pumps and a high performance interface. When operated with standard pneumatic aspiration, this instrument will give 20 to 30 million counts per ppm of any given isotope. Plans are underway to purchase an additional ICP-MS for the WSLH, thus enabling one ICP-MS to be dedicated solely to research. A future use of the second ICP-MS is the development of new analytical methods using stable Hg isotopes.