Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Dr Richard Stern

Position: NanoSIMS Laboratory Manager

Affiliation: Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis

Postal Address:
Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, M010
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, WA 6009

Phone: +61 (08) 6488 8062
Fax: +61 (08) 6488 1087

Research Profile

Upon graduation with a B.Sc. in 1984 from the University of Waterloo, Canada, RS was awarded a prestigious ‘NSERC 1967 Science and Engineering Scholarship’ that took him to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA. Under the tutelage of Professor Gilbert Hanson, RS conducted doctoral research in trace element geochemistry of Precambrian rocks, specializing in rare earth element analysis of rocks and minerals by isotope dilution mass spectrometry. After graduating with a Ph.D. in 1989, RS was offered a post-doctoral fellowship at the Geological Survey of Canada, where he expanded his research to include Nd and Sr isotope geochemistry and zircon U-Pb geochronology using multicollector thermal ionization mass spectrometry. RS was hired as a staff member of the GSC Geochronology Section in 1991, and in 1995 was charged with establishing North America’s first SHRIMP ion microprobe laboratory. He remained in charge of the GSC ion microprobe laboratory through 2003, when he took on the new challenge of establishing Australia’s first nanoSIMS ion microprobe laboratory at The University of Western Australia.

RS’s principle interests are developing and applying new methods of secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), particularly isotope ratio analysis. He has been at the forefront of developing and applying the latest SIMS technology to a wide array of problems, from U-Pb mineral U-Pb geochronology to tracing mammal life histories. RS brings broad experience and technical expertise in isotope and trace element analysis, and in chemical and isotopic modelling of natural systems.

Selected Publications

  1. Stern R. A. and Amelin Y. (2003) Assessment of errors in SIMS zircon U-Pb geochronology using a natural zircon standard and NIST SRM 610 glass. Chemical Geology 197, 111-142.
  2. Stern, R.A. (1999) In situ analysis of radiogenic isotopes with emphasis on ion microprobe techniques and applications; Application of radiogenic isotopes to ore deposit research and exploration. Reviews in Economic Geology, 12, 173-199.2.
  3. Stern R. A. and Berman R. G. (2000) Monazite U-Pb and Th-Pb geochronology by ion microprobe, with an application to in situ dating of an Archean metasedimentary rock. Chemical Geology 172, 113-130.
  4. Stern R. A., Outridge P. M., Davis W. J., and Stewart R. E. A. (1999) Reconstructing Pb-isotope exposure histories preserved in walrus teeth annuli using the SHRIMP II ion microprobe. Environmental Science and Technology 33, 1771-1775.
  5. Stern R. A., Syme E. C., Bailes A. H., and Lucas S. B. (1995) Paleoproterozoic (1.90-1.86 Ga) arc volcanism in the Flin Flon belt, Trans-Hudson Orogen, Canada. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 119, 117-141.
  6. Stern R. A., Syme E. C., and Lucas S. B. (1995) Geochemistry of a 1.9 Ga MORB-and OIB-like basalts from the Amisk collage, Flin Flon Belt, Canada: Evidence for an intraoceanic origin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 59, 3131-3154.
  7. Stern R. A., Machado N., Syme E. C., Lucas S. B., and David J. (1999) Chronology of crustal growth and recycling in the 1.9 Ga Flin Flon belt, Trans-Hudson Orogen (Canada). Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 36, 1-21.
  8. Stern R. A. and Bleeker W. (1998) Age of the world's oldest rocks refined using Canada's SHRIMP: the Acasta Gneiss Complex, Northwest Territories, Canada. Geoscience Canada 25, 27-31.
  9. Stern, R.A. (1998) High-resolution SIMS determination of radiogenic tracer-isotope ratios in minerals; Modern Approaches to Ore and Environmental Mineralogy, (eds.) Cabri, L.J., and Vaughan, D.J.; Mineralogical Association of Canada, Short Course Series, 27, 241-268.
  10. Stern R. A. (1997) The GSC Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP): analytical techniques of zircon U-Th-Pb age determinations and performance evaluation. In Current Research, Vol. 1997-F, pp. 1-31. Geological Survey of Canada.


The University of Western Australia nanoSIMS 50 ion microprobe at the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis provides Australian and international researchers access to the southern hemisphere’s first and only capability in nano-scale isotopic analysis. The instrument permits sub-cellular localization of metal ions and/or related ligant elements to a resolution of 50 nm.

Complementary facilities are available for conducting confocal, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy.

International Linkages

Ongoing linkages have been established two other nanoSIMS laboratories conducting analysis of biological materials, i.e., Harvard Medical School (C. Lechene) and Institut Curie, University of Paris-Sud (J.-L. Guerquin-Kern).