HAL (Helium Analysis Laboratory)

“I became operational … in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January, [2016]. My instructor was [Dr. Guenthner] and he taught me a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”

At UIUC, the HAL and supporting facilities are used to conduct (U-Th)/He dating on apatites, zircons, and other U-bearing minerals of interest. The centerpiece of the HAL is a state-of-the-art Santa Cruz Laser Microfurnace noble gas extraction and measurement line, optimized for measuring sub-pico mole levels of He. The high vacuum line consists of diode laser heated degassing and diffusion cells, cryogenic purification, and a PrismaPlus QMG 200.


Support facilities include a microscopy room (Nikon SMZ-18 stereo microscope with attached camera and imaging software) for sample preparation and a Thermo iCAP quadrupole ICP-MS for U and Th measurements. We also have dedicated wet chemistry lab space and equipment (fume hoods, ovens, Parr digestion vessels, etc.) for sample dissolution.

The HAL and supporting laboratories are open for visits and collaborative work. Please contact Dr. Guenthner if you have any interest in using the facilities!

Graduate students, the lab expectations and guidelines can be found here: Graduate Student Expectations