The Centre of Isotopic Research (CIR) is the only high-tech research and production laboratory in Russia with its infrastructure, specialists, a set of equipment, techniques and technologies that allow the widest range of innovative isotope studies of both natural and artificial materials for the needs of the natural resource industry and having state accreditation.
CIR was created in 2001 as part of the A.P. Karpinsky Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI) in St. Petersburg.
The VSEGEI laboratory and analytical service dates back to 1898, when a chemical laboratory was created at the GeolCom of Russia. In 2000, its pivotal modernization and technical re-equipment began. The decision to create CIR was made in accordance with international experience, which shows that currently effective geological surveying, geochemical, forecasting and geoecological studies are impossible without isotope research based on mass-spectrometric techniques and appropriate special equipment. There are about ten similar centres in the world.
CIR VSEGEI has isotope research equipment from leading manufacturing companies in the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Finland and Australia. Each of the CIR’s 10 instruments is unique or best in its class. It is enough to mention that there are only 12 secondary ion mass spectrometers SHRIMP-II in the world.
A distinctive feature of isotope studies is that they can answer the following most important questions: the source of the substance, the rate of the process, and the age of formation. This isotope information provides great prospects for its use in studying natural and anthropogenic processes.
Isotope methods can be applied in a number of areas: in geology (in regional exploration; for studying formation conditions of mineral deposits, etc.), water management (to control natural water quality; to create a register of water resources), forestry (to determine the age of trees and assessing the rate of forest resource growth), environment (to identify sources of pollution; to determine the rate of anthropogenic components accumulation; to solve the problem of safe disposal of radioactive and highly toxic waste).