To understand about planetary interiors, we use experiments that require a combination of high pressure-high temperature experimental apparatus in the ExPeRT lab, which enable us to simulate the conditions deep within Earth and other planets, and geochemical analytical tools, which allow us to observe chemical reactions, mineral stabilities, and melt formation processes that would be expected in natural systems.
Most of our equipment is found on the Rice University campus, with the ExPeRT lab housed at the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences in the Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratories. Some of our analytical equipment can also be found in our host department, while others, run by Rice's Shared Equipment Authority (SEA) are located in the Department of Chemistry.
We currently have 3 piston cylinder apparatus and 1 multi-anvil apparatus from Rockland Research. These allow us to explore a 0.2-10.0 GPa pressure range and temperatures of 750-2000 degrees C, relevant for simulating the conditions of planetary interiors.
Rice recently acquired a JEOL X100 Hyperprobe. We also employ various other tools to analyze our experiments, including in-house Laser Ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) as well as Rice's Shared Access Resources (SEA) Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Raman Spectroscopy.