LIBS is an analytical technique that provides immediate, in situ, rapid analysis. I am working with benchtop systems and a backpack system to develop methods for analysis of geologic materials. Every LIBS spectrum contains information about the concentration of most of the elements in the periodic table, making the spectrum a detailed chemical signature of the material. Using chemometric techniques, we have been able to accurately determine the provenance of rubies and sapphires, measure the S content of coal, determine Li concentrations in minerals, perform quality control measurements on highway aggregates, correlate rock units, and distinguish between biologically produced calcite and inorganically precipitated calcite. We are now thinking about how LIBS analysis of detrital minerals could enhance provenance studies.
Igneous Petrology and Tectonics
I am interested in understanding past tectonic events using the record of igneous rocks. Most of my work in this area is now focused on the Rio Grande rift.