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Welcome to SWAMP: a metal-free, ultra-clean laboratory

The SWAMP Laboratory is an ultra-clean research facility for studying the sources, transformations, behaviour and fate of trace metals cycling in SoilsWater, AirManures, and Plants. It is a state-of-the-art lab in which almost everything is made of plastic in order to avoid contamination by metals!

The SWAMP lab is concerned with environmental quality in its broadest sense: the quality of our soil resources, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. The orientation of this new facility is the pedosphere, and the focus of research is the so called “critical zone” which connects the lithosphere with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, and the relevant chemical processes taking place there. The long-term objective of this research is to employ modern soil science combined with analytical chemistry and isotope geochemistry to better understand how to sustainably manage our natural resources, maintain productive ecosystems and foster human health.

"at the SWAMP lab, we can measure almost nothing"

Precision instruments

The lab is equipped with precision instrumentation, including two mass spectrometers that can detect trace metals down to parts per trillion, and parts per quadrillion. One part per quadrillion is comparable to one single raindrop in the volume of Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes of North America.

Measuring heavy metals

The lab houses a Flow Field-Flow Fractionation instrument (FFFF) coupled to absorbance, fluorescence, and multi-angle light scattering detectors. Combined with an ICP-MS and the smallest available membrane pore size on the FFFF (0.3 kDa), this system is globally unequalled in its ability to thoroughly characterize the smallest of nanoparticles and environmental colloids, which are 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Analytical services

The SWAMP lab has highly skilled personnel who can provide expert advice and services to our clients who wish to seek an ultra-clean approach to trace metals analysis.
See here for more information.

Contact us

Our Location:
University of Alberta
Department of Renewable Resources
348 South Academic Building
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G7

For more information:
call 780.248.5885 or e-mail


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