The lab is made up by two section: cleanrooms, in which samples to be analized are treated and purified and mass spectrometry lab, in which TIMS analyses are run.

Clean rooms:

  • class 10.000, dressing room;
  • 2 class 1000 rooms for sample preparation (acid digestion), distillation of reagents and purification of elements to be analyzed (Sr, REE, B, Cr) through ion exchange chromatography;
  • 1 class 100 room for sample preparation (acid digestion) and purification of elements to be analyzed through ion exchange chromatography (Pb and mycroanalis of Sr.

Cleanrooms are equipped with hoods with ejection system of acid vapors (including HF), hot plates, sub-boiled water and acid distillation systems, including three Savillex DST-1000, used for H2O, HCl and HNO3 purification, respectively, a precision balance Sartorius Cubis (ripetibility ±0.015 mg), several sets of columns for element separation from the matrix through ion exchange chromatography.

Neptune- TIMS Lab: 1 Multi Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer, 2 Thermal Ionization Mass Spectromter

  • Multi-collector Finnigan MAT 262 mass spectrometer (Installed 1991);
  • Multi-collector Finnigan MAT 262 mass spectrometer (built 1990; installed at IGG-CNR: 2016);
  • Multi-collector ICP Mass Spectrometer Thermo Neptune Plus (installed 2017).

Other instruments:

  • Pfeiffer Balzer filament heating device (hosting up to 30 filaments);
  • Laminar flow hood Faster BIO48 for sample loading.


Dr. Samuele Agostini (CNR Researcher - Head Laboratory)

Dr. Maddalena Pennisi (CNR Researcher)

Dr. Andrea Dini (CNR Researcher)

Dr. Paolo Di Giuseppe (CNR Grant Student)

Dr. Andrea Rielli (Post Doc Grant)

Dr. Marlene Dordoni (Grant Student)




050 6213281 (Dr. Samuele Agostini)
050 6212373 (Dr. Maddalena Pennisi)
050 6212370 (Dr. Andrea Dini)




Routine isotope systems at Neptune-TIMS lab include isotope ratio measurements, as well as the content via isotope dilution, of following elements: B, Cr, Sr, Nd and Pb.

In particular, we run measurement of:

  • B isotope composition on borosilicates, borates, rocks and silicate minerals, carbonate minerals and fluid matrices such as volcanic, geothermal, thermal waters and freshwaters.
  • Pb isotopic composition on silicate and carbonate rocks and minerals, fluid matrices, industrial manufacts (e.g. metals) archaeological manufacts (coins, other manufacts).
  • Nd isotope composition on silicate and carbonate rocks and minerals, and fluid matrices such as volcanic, geothermal, thermal waters and freshwaters.
  • Cr isotope composition on aqueous matrices and mafic and ultramafic silicate rocks.
  • Elemental contents via isotope dilution.


The above listed analytical methods are applied to a broad spectrum of studies concerning isotopic fingerprinting in several areas of Earth Sciences and Environment lato sensu, including petrology and isotope geochemistry studies on igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, isotope hydrology, water-rock interactions, indirect geochronology of marine carbonates, pollution tracking, forensic geochemistry, isotope fingerprinting applied to cultural heritage.

It is worth to note the role played by this laboratory in analytical standards intercalibration projects. In 2001 this lab, in collaboration with the IAEA, organized an international inter-calibration exercise for the measurement of the isotopic composition and the boron concentration of solid and liquid matrices. Since then, the TIMS laboratory IGG-Pisa is the holder and distributor of the liquid matrix standards labeled B1 to B3, and B4 to B8 solid matrix standards.


Some of the projects in which this lab was/is involved:

  • Research project 2013/AZ2.07 “Retroazioni fra neotettonica, magmatismo, clima e dinamica del mantello nella regione del Mare di Ross” PNRA, Italian National Antarctic Project 2013-2016
  • Upper Cretaceous-Paleogene magmatism and thermal waters of Rhodope Massif (Bulgaria): genesis and comparison with Aegean-Anatolian region, CNR-BAS Bilateral Project 2013-2015
  • “Volatile transfer at convergent plate margins: linking COH fluids/melts heterogeneities to tectonic anomalies in subduction zones”, PRIN-MIUR 2012.
  • “Applicazioni multi-isotopiche al sistema termale di Castrocaro: modello concettuale e sfruttamento delle risorse”. IGG-Terme di Castrocaro SpA Agreement, 2011-2013
  • Progetto RESPIRA, REservoir Serpentinitici toscani: da Potenziale Inquinante a Risorsa Ambientale –POR-FSE project, Regione Toscana –UE, 2009-2013.
  • Descramble “Drilling in dEep, Super-CRitical AMBients of continentaL Europe”” (EU Horizon 2020)
  • “Bilancio geochimico per la valutazione della qualità agro-ambientale in un sistema territoriale complesso: il caso studio della zona di Ravenna”, Ministero Università e Ricerca, PRIN-MIUR 2008-2010.
  • “La subduzione continentale e i suoi effetti sulla struttura e composizione del sistema crosta-mantello superiore: esempi dalle catene periadriatiche”, Ministero Università e Ricerca, PRIN-MIUR 2008-2010.
  • “Lo Stato di contaminazione da B, As e Hg di un tratto del Fiume Cecina e del Torrente Possera e identificazione delle cause”. Ministry of Environment and Regione Toscana. 2006-2009
  • EVK1-CT-2000-00046 BOREMED, Boron contamination of water resources in the Mediterranean region: distribution, sources, social impact and remediation.
  • IGG CNR / International Atomic Energy Agency. Intercomparison of boron isotopic composition measurements in natural materials. 10725/Regular Budget Fund. 1999-2002.

TIMS-Clean Rooms Lab was selected for EPOS (European Plate Observing System) European analytical network


Research activities supported by this laboratory cover a wide spectrum in the framework of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Main active themes include:

  • Subduction and deep recycling of material in convergence-collision areas (from volcanic arc, to subducted and exhumed rocks)
  • magmatism in converging and diverging regions (Mediterranean Area, from Spain to Iran, Eastern Pacific, Ethiopia, Central and South America).
  • Research in Antarctica (Relations between magmatism and tectonic evolution of North Victoria Land; paleo-climatic reconstructions through the study of volcanic products)
  • geothermal and thermal systems: water-rock interactions, fluid tracking (origin, characteristics, circulation times and pathways), geothermal paragenesis
  • Origin and evolution of mud volcanoes and fossil salt waters (Central Apennines)
  • Isotopic Applications on active landslides studies
  • Aquifers and river basins: recharge, weathering and anthropogenic pollution
  • Geochronology of marine carbonates through Sr isotope composition
  • Isotope fingerprinting of anthropogenic and geogenic environmental pollutants (B, Pb, Cr, heavy metals)
  • Isotopic studies applied to ore geology
  • Isotopic studies applied to Archaeology, Archaeometry and Cultural Heritage
  • Scientific divulgation
  • Isotope fingerprinting in environmental geology and forensic geology.


  • Cannaò, E., Scambelluri, M., Agostini, S., Tonarini, S., Godard, M.. (2016). Linking serpentinite geochemistry with tectonic evolution at the subduction plate-interface: The Voltri Massif case study (Ligurian Western Alps, Italy). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 190, 115-133
  • Chiarantini, L., Gallo, F., Rimondi, V., Benvenuti, M., Costagliola, P., Dini, A. (2015). Early Renaissance production recipes for Naples Yellow pigment: A mineralogical and lead isotope study of Italian Majolica from Montelupo (Florence). Archaeometry, 57 (5), 879-896.
  • Forni F., Ellis B.S., Bachmann O., Lucchi F., Peccerillo A., Tranne C.A., Agostini S., Dallai L. (2015). Erupted cumulate fragments in rhyolites from Lipari (Aeolian Island). Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 170:49, 1-18.
  • Marchina C., Bianchini G., Natali C., Pennisi M., Colombani, N. , Tassinari R., & Knoeller K. (2015). The Po river water from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea (Italy): new insights from geochemical and isotopic (δ18O-δD) data Environ Sci Pollut Res DOI 10.1007/s11356-014-3750-6.
  • Farina, F., Dini, A., Rocchi, S., Stevens, G.(2014). Extreme mineral-scale Sr isotope heterogeneity in granites by disequilibrium melting of the crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 399, 103-115.
  • Grassi S., Amadori M., Pennisi M., Cortecci G. (2014). Identifying sources of B and As contamination in surface water and groundwater downstream of the Larderello geothermal – Industrial area (Tuscany–Central Italy). Journal of Hydrology 509, 66–82.
  • Harvey, J., Savov, I.P., Agostini, S., Cliff, R.A., Walshaw, R. (2014). Si-metasomatism in serpentinized peridotite: The effects of talc-alteration on strontium and boron isotopes in abyssal serpentinites from Hole 1268a, ODP Leg 209. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 126, pp. 30-48.
  • Petrini R., Pennisi M., Vittori Antisari L., Cidu R. Vianello G., Aviani U. (2014). Geochemistry and stable isotope composition of surface waters from the Ravenna Plain (Italy): implications for the management of water resources in agricultural lands. Environ Earth Sci. DOI 10.1007/s12665-013-2913-y
  • Scambelluri, M., Tonarini, S. (2012). Boron isotope evidence for shallow fluid transfer across subduction zones by serpentinized mantle. Geology, 40(10), 907-910.
  • Tonarini, S., Leeman, W.P., Leat, P.T. (2011). Subduction erosion of forearc mantle wedge implicated in the genesis of the South Sandwich Island (SSI) arc: Evidence from boron isotope systematics. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 301 (1-2), 275-284.
  • S. Agostini, C. Doglioni, F. Innocenti, P. Manetti, S. Tonarini (2010). On the geodynamics of the Aegean rift. Tectonophysics, 488, 7-21.
  • Pennisi M., Bianchini G. Klopmann W. Muti A. (2009). Chemical and isotopic (B, Sr) composition of alluvial sediments as archive of a past hydrothermal outflow. Chemical Geology 266, 123-134.
  • Agostini, S., Ryan, J.G., Tonarini, S., Innocenti, F. (2008). Drying and dying of a subducted slab: Coupled Li and B isotope variations in Western Anatolia Cenozoic Volcanism, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 272, 139-147.
  • Boschi, C., Dini, A., Früh-Green, G.L., Kelley, D.S. (2008). Isotopic and element exchange during serpentinization and metasomatism at the Atlantis Massif (MAR 30°N): Insights from B and Sr isotope data. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 72 (7), 1801-1823.
  • Dini, A., Mazzarini, F., Musumeci, G., Rocchi, S. (2008). Multiple hydro-fracturing by boron-rich fluids in the Late Miocene contact aureole of eastern Elba Island (Tuscany, Italy). Terra Nova, 20 (4), 318-326.
  • Tonarini, S., S. Agostini, C. Doglioni, F. Innocenti, and P. Manetti (2007). Evidence for serpentinite fluid in convergent margin systems: The example of El Salvador (Central America) arc lavas, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 8, Q09014, doi:10.1029/2006GC001508.
  • Turner, S., Tonarini, S., Bindeman, I., Leeman, W.P., Schaefer, B.F. (2007). Boron and oxygen isotope evidence for recycling of subducted components over the past 2.5 Gyr. Nature, 447 (7145), 702-705.
  • Pennisi M., Bianchini G. Muti A. Kloppmann W. (2006). Behaviour of boron and strontium isotopes in groundwater-aquifer interactions in the Cornia Plain (Tuscany, Italy), Applied Geochemistry, 21, 1169-1183.
  • Tonarini S, Pennisi M, et al. (2003) Intercomparison of boron isotope and concentration measurements. Part 1: Selection, preparation and homogeneity tests of the intercomparison materials. GEOSTANDARDS NEWSLETTER 27 (1): 21-39.
  • Gonfiantini R., Tonarini S. et al. (2003). Intercomparison of Boron Isotope and Concentration Measurements. Part II: Evaluation of Results. GEOSTANDARDS NEWSLETTER 27 (1): 41-57.