Acquisition of a 40Ar/39Ar Dating Laboratory at Rutgers University

Project Details




This NSF Instrumentation and Facilities award provides funds for equipment required for the completion of a 'state of the art' 40Ar/39Ar dating facility at Rutgers University designed to address a diverse array of geochronological issues in geology, paleontology and anthropology. The Rutgers facility centers around a Mass Analyzer Products 215-50 mass spectrometer recently acquired with the closure of the Princeton University Ar laboratory. The MAP 215-50 is well suited for 40Ar/39Ar research, however, ancillary sample extraction, gas purification, and computer systems were needed to make the Rutgers facility fully operational. NSF funds from this award will provide necessary CO2 laser and resistance furnace sample heating systems, and, an automated, low volume, ultra low background extraction system for gas purification. Sample extraction and gas purification systems necessary for the completion of the Rutgers 40Ar/39Ar dating system are not available, for the most part, as single off the shelf items; rather individual components and parts must be purchased, assembled, integrated calibrated and tested. Thus, in addition to equipment, funding of additional technical support during build-out, testing and calibration phases is also required. As part of cost sharing between NSF and Rutgers University, Rutgers has committed two years salary and benefit support for a permanent Ph.D. level, Research Associate faculty position for development and technical assistance during the tenure of this proposal. Thereafter, Rutgers will continue to support this position at the 50% level, the remaining time to be allotted to research initiatives, collaborative projects and university lectureships. Rutgers has also committed funds for the purchase of the MAP 215-50 mass spectrometer, over $145,000 on upgrades and modernization of research facilities and fixed equipment, and committed permanent academic year salary and benefits for the P.I. to oversee and develop these facilities. Ongoing and proposed research by the P.I., Research Associate and numerous Rutger's faculty and students will benefit immediately from implementation of the new instrumentation. The new Ar facility will serve as a catalyst, bringing together two unique working groups of Rutger's scientists; a timescale group consisting of faculty Swisher, Aubry, Berggren, Kent and Miller, and a geological paleoanthropology group of Swisher, Anton, Ashley, Blumenschine, Feibel, and Harris. Collaborative research with faculty and student investigators in geology and anthropology at Rutgers and Princeton universities is anticipated, as is continued collaborative research with other national and international colleagues.


Effective start/end date3/1/0212/31/05


  • National Science Foundation: $177,103.00


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