Welcome to the Microanalytical Laboratory

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ARL SEMQ Electron Microprobe

The Concord University Microanalytical Laboratory houses two major instruments: an ARL-SEMQ electron microprobe and a Horiba XGT-5000 micro-X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analytical microscope.  Both instruments are highly useful tools for teaching and research because they have multidisciplinary applications and can acquire precise quantitative chemical and spatial information from solid materials. The combination of the two instruments substantially expands the range of applications which the microanalytical facility can address.

The electron microprobe is housed in the Department of Physical Sciences (chemistry, geology, physics) in a dedicated 500 ft2 ground-floor laboratory.  This instrument is the only electron microprobe in West Virginia and is Concord University's most significant piece of major research instrumentation.

The XRF is housed in a separate laboratory on the third floor and is capable of qualitatively mapping the elemental composition of solid materials from areas as large as 10 cm x 10 cm with a resolution of 0.01-0.1 mm.  Using transmitted X-ray imaging on the XRF, internal structures and defects may also be studied.

Horiba micro-XRF

The combination of two instruments provides users the opportunity to analyze and image chemical variations on both large and small scales.  Regions of interest identified using the XRF may be subsequently studied on the electron microprobe to obtain detailed quantitative analysis and high-resolution imaging. The XRF also provides the capability to study samples that are unstable under the high-vacuum conditions of the electron microprobe or which are easily damaged by the electron beam.

One frequent application of electron microprobe is tephrochronology, the use of volcanic ash and pumice (tephra) as a tool for dating and correlation. Tephrochronology is employed globally with numerous interdisciplinary applications including: environmental and climate change, archaeology, Earth surface processes, ecology, animal and plant evolution, earthquake hazards & neotectonics, volcanic hazards, and even medicine.

The electron microprobe and micro-XRF instruments are complimented by a sample preparation facility which contains sieves, rock saws, thin section grinders, and other equipment. Additional Concord University analytical equipment available for use includes: an atomic force microscope (AFM), polarizing light (petrographic) microscopes, Raman spectrometer, gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS), gas chromatograph (GC), high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR), supercritical fluid extraction equipment, a fluorimeter, and UV/Vis spectroscopy. 

The microanalytical facility is open to academic users from all departments of Concord University as well as to visitors from other schools, universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses.

We welcome new users and new applications. If you are interested in using our facilities, or would like additional information, please feel free to contact us.