In February of 2011, Beijing SHRIMP Center won the Best Team Prize of The National Key Technology R&D Program issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology. For the past decade, the center is committed to co-manufacturing and sharing large instruments, whose efficiency and results productivity have been recognized in the world. Pursuing a spirit of “openness, sharing and efficient”, the center is impressively running at a high speed, which attracted cooperators from all over the world. In less than five years after its founding, it has been ranked among world-famous geochronology labs and become a top isotope dating platform. The center accelerated the development of domestic and international geosciences by solving major disputable problems in the field. Besides, the SROS that tests the age of zircon uranium-lead remotely serves as an example of dating technology with the usage of high resolution ion microprobes on the Internet, spreading the idea of “sharing SIMS resources”.
Beijing SHRIMP Center was founded in Dec. 18th, 2001. It is a large scientific instrument center named by the Ministry of Science and Technology engaging in research on geochronology, cosmochronology, the formation of solar system and globe, structural evolution of main orogenic belt system, geological time scale, metallogenic epoch of ore deposits and microanalytical techniques of rare earth. With two SHRIMPⅡ, we are making great efforts to find new dating methods , resolve problems on timing analysis and develop scientific instrument related to metallogenic epoch research.
Open and efficient platform
(1)A doctrine of the lab, efficiency has brought more opportunities for development and innovation. As a model to share resources with the public, the center has overcome countless difficulties to analyze samples 24/7 and maintain a record of over 260 days of effective machine hours annually, quadrupling the excellent level of 1600 hours per year issued by Ministry of Science and Technology and thus winning the title of “the most efficient lab of the same kind”. High efficiency also leads to openness so as to obtain research results faster, more and easier. For the past decade, the center has analyzed over 1,4000 zircon samples, providing a strong technical support for major national and international science and technology plans, geological explorations, and prospecting in the field. As of December of 2010, over 800 papers have been published on domestic and foreign journals (including 275 papers on SCI journals) by scholars with the data gathered from SHRIMP. According to statistics, the number of papers published on international journals using the data of SHRIMP on average has been ranked the top among the same kind worldwide.
Taking openness as the center’s virtue and a win-win approach to embrace the world, it provides testing technology services for scholars both home and abroad while serving as a window to learn about the most updated information on science and technology. By so doing, it has gathered a batch of domestic and international scholars to conduct extensive academic exchanges and accelerated its own development. The center occupies no more than 15% of the annually running time and 30% when adding the running time of its support to institution Institute of Geology of Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. More than 70% of the key instruments in the center are open to the public. Meanwhile, the sharing system has brought on a huge workload and attracted numerous visitors. For the past decade, hundreds of scientific and research staff from over 30 institutions including relevant departments of Ministry of Land and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, colleges and entities from Hong Kong and Taiwan have conducted analytic research on their samples with SHRIMPⅡ. Moreover, scholars from such countries as the U.S, the U.K, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Mongolia, Canada, Poland, Turkey, Spain and Cuba have come to our center for short-term visits, some being noticeable geologists. Opening to the outside world actually is a step to securing a seat in the world at large.
(3)The SROS system jointly developed by the center, National Institute of Metrology and Jilin University made it possible to remotely control ion microprobe mass spectrometer and obtain experiment data online, thus meeting the requirement of collaborative experiment and research for more than one scientist at one time and improving the research level of such experiments in an end to boost its accessibility and sharing. Since 2006, the center has set up SROS remote work stations in such cities as Yichang, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Taipei, and Hong Kong and countries as Canada, Brazil and Italy, forming an international sharing network. The SROS remote server system in Curtin University of Technology and ASI company of Australia enabled for the first time Chinese scientists to share Australian instruments, serving as an example for us to enjoy remotely foreign qualified instrument resources. By the end of Dec. 31th, 2010, SROS has conducted remote testing work of zircon samples for a total of 9182.5 hours, among which 8353.5 hours were achieved by domestic users with two SHRIMP II machines in Australia. Other SHRIMP remote work stations and server systems around the world have also gone into normal operation, which has brought up remarkable social and economic benefits and won praises from both home and abroad.
（4）The International Platform Center for Subject Research expands its services from providing testing machines to inviting famed experts both home and abroad for academic exchanges and cooperation. In less than five years, it has turned into a famous “world class geochronology platform” and “one of the most outstanding geochronology lab in the world”. While providing the above mentioned quality services, the center is in charge of multiple national and department scientific and research projects, many accomplished and undergoing ones with its staff as the first responsible person. These include: one subject sponsored by the National Key Technology Support Program, two projects by the National Science&Technology Infrastructure Center, two key projects and six general projects by National Natural Science Foundation, two projects by Innovation Method Fund, etc. New breakthroughs were made including SHRIMP geochronology research on Apollo lunar rocks and lunar meteors, geochronology research of zircon in ophiolite of tectonic domain of orogenic belt in mid-Asia, research on precambrian khondalite series, research on the evolution of early Archaean in Anshan, research on the finding and evolution of greenstone belt of early Archaean in the east of Shandong, etc. All these remarkable achievements have translated into the center’s subject advantage. Nearly 40 papers with its staff as first authors have been published on international SCI journals. “The remote sharing system of ion microprobe” has been acclaimed as “another new invention of Chinese people”. Under the subject sponsored by the National Key Technology Support Program, it has accomplished the research and manufacturing of key components for SHRIMP, including ion source, delicate three dimensional sample stage and automatic sample changing system. Also, it built a platform for instrument research and development, which include a vacuum system, supply circuit, measuring circuit, control circuit and so on. In 2009, the center initiated the International Precambrian Research Center of China(IPRCC), which attracted the attention of frontier scholars in the field and formed an international research platform with Beijing SHRIMP Center at the core and director Liu Dunyi as the chairman. IPRCC has received wide support since its establishment, and already hosted international conferences and geological exploration activities in 2010, which cemented the center’s position as an international research center.
Talents are the guarantee of the center’s sustainable development. Beijing SHRIMP center, out of its nature and demand, has always emphasized equally research and development, technology and talents. A team of excellent personnel led by world-renowned geologists on isotope was formed gathering both young and old. At present, there are 20 permanent workers including five researchers, three deputy researchers, two senior engineers and ten engineers and technicians, and 12 non-permanent workers including five officially-employed Chinese visiting experts, four technology assistants, one post-doctorate degree holder, and two foreign experts. The four character motto of being“Silent, Clean, Dedicated, Competitive” advocated by director Liu Dunyi at the establishment of the center has represented its working style and spirit. Team spirit and enterprising spirit also underpin the center’s success. Our staff can always present enthusiasm, patience, meticulousness and dedication in providing daily technology services, grasp the trend of subject development with insight, and work heart and soul with the ambitious strategy of going to the very front of science and technology in mind. We have always been proud that a good working style has been around.