The ASU was formed in September 1980 at Queen’s University in order to coordinate chemical analyses being performed at the University. This involved centralizing and acquiring equipment over the years for a large variety of tests. Since its inception, the size of the unit has grown so that now the staff consists of 4 senior members with doctorate degrees and seven technicians with bachelor degrees.
The ASU is part of the School of Environmental studies. Undergraduate and post-graduate students visit the ASU laboratories for advice and to perform analyses using ASU equipment. Any student at Queen’s can obtain one day of free advice and time in the laboratory. All other work performed by the ASU is charged on a fee per analyses basis. Undergraduate and post-graduate students can reduce the cost of their analyses by assisting with the analysis in the ASU laboratories under the guidance of ASU technicians.
The work performed covers a very large number of topics. In the area of research, the ASU has developed new methods for the analysis of metals or organic compounds in a variety of matrices and has been involved in joint research programs with other faculty members covering such diverse subjects as cathodic protection of bridge structures, the effects of entachlorophenol on predator-prey relationships, and the nutritional status of hybrid poplar plantations. Chemical analyses have ranged from specific and applied requirements such as the analysis of exotic catalytic metallic elements such as Hafnium and Zirconium as well as workshop dust samples for heavy metal contaminants through to more general requests such as the analysis of private well water samples. The ASU is available to assist university professors with the development of analytical methodology as well as the purchasing, installation, maintenance and trouble shooting of analytical chemistry equipment. The ASU is also available to assist external clients with their analytical chemistry problems and is more than willing to enter into partnerships with government and industry in the development of solutions to analytical chemistry problems.
The ASU is accredited by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA), for specific tests listed in the scope of accreditation approved by the SCC.
The ASU also has expertise in the general area of environmental assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. Particular areas where we have specialized skills and knowledge are in on-site analyses, GPS mapping and autocad work, work at remote sites and project logistics and management.
The Director, Allison, and the staff of research associates and technicians are available to assist with chemical analysis and to advise on analytical and environmental requirements and approaches to problem solving. We also work closely with other service groups at Queen's and can direct inquiries to them or incorporate their results with those of the ASU in a single report.