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Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research

Key Contacts

Godwin Laboratory Facilities

The Godwin Laboratory houses analytical equipment which is used mainly for research purposes within the Department of Earth Sciences and other Cambridge University Departments. We have a dedicated team of highly skilled and experienced Technical Staff who maintain and run the equipment. They are able to advise researchers and students on ‘best practice’, from sample collection through to final analysis, in order to obtain the highest quality results and precision.

We also have the capacity to undertake commercial work, and enquiries for analyses are welcome from outside institutions. Prices for commercial samples vary depending upon the nature of the sample, the number and combination of analyses required and the sample pre-treatment.

Stable Isotope Facility

The analytical equipment available includes:

VG PRISM Mass Spectrometer with Multiprep System

VG SIRA Mass Spectrometer with Multicarb System

VG PRISM mass spectrometer and multiprep



VG SIRA mass spectrometer and multicarb


Thermo Finnigan MAT253 Mass Spectrometer with Kiel Device

These 3 dual inlet mass spectrometers and preparation systems all measure stable isotopes 18O/16O and 13C/12C in CO2 generated from the reaction of carbonate samples with orthophosphoric acid. Most samples analysed are foraminifera from deep sea sediment, but bulk carbonate from various sources can also be run. Samples down to < 20 micrograms may be measured to a high precision.

Thermo Finnigan MAT253 with Gas Bench II

The Finnigan Gas bench will provide high precision on-line stable isotope ratio determination of ‘headspace’ samples including water equilibration, carbonates and atmospheric gases using continuous flow techniques. The range of applications includes:

  • D/H in water through equilibration with H2/Pt
  • 18O/16O in water through equilibration with CO2
  • 18O/16O and 13C/12C from carbonates by acid digestion
  • 13C/12C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)
  • 13C/12C and 18O/16O of CO2 in air
  • 18O/16O and 17O/16O in air and water
  • 15N/14N of N2 in air

Thermo Finnigan 253 with Elemental Analyser

The Costech elemental analyser will provide high precision on-line stable isotope determinations of 13C/12C and 15N/14N in organic compounds using a gas chromatographic separation column linked to a continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer. It will also provide Total Organic Carbon, C/N ratios, %C and %N.


MAT253 mass spectrometer and sample preparation systems


MAT 253 mass spectrometer and Kiel device

Thermo Finnigan 253 with TC (High Temperature Conversion) Elemental Analyser

The TC/EA allows the high precision on-line stable isotope determinations of 18O/16O and D/H in small organic and some inorganic solid and liquid bulk samples using pyrolysis. The reaction gases are separated in an isothermal gas chromatograph and admitted to the continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer for analysis.

VG PRISM with ‘Tube Cracker’ System

Samples of pure dry CO2 contained in 6mm od glass or 10mm o/d metal tubes may be analysed by comparison with a reference gas using a dual inlet mass spectrometer in order to measure 13C/12C.

Sedimentary Laboratory

The recently refurbished sedimentary laboratory is able to process and examine deep sea cores and various sediment samples. It is equipped with a cold room for long term sample storage. We have shaking and sieving facilities for sample desegregation, drying ovens and precision balances. The laboratory also includes a sedigraph, coulter counter, magnetic susceptibility meter and x-radiography equipment.


Sedimentary Laboratory


Sedimentary Laboratory

Micropalaeontology Laboratory

The purpose built micropalaeontology laboratory is equipped with a large number of microscopes and light sources for the examination and sampling of sediment samples and the identification of microfossils. We have mini-drills and micro-drills for the sequential sampling of Mollusca. The facility also includes a dedicated weighing room housing a number of high precision micro-balances.


Archive and Database

We have an archive system for all marine sediment samples from the Worlds Oceans that have been analysed by Department Researchers and a database containing every 18O/16O and 13C/12C measurement made in the Godwin Laboratory during the past 30 years.


Micropalaeontology Laboratory and sample archive