Earth and Planetary Materials Analysis LaboratoryWestern Science

About the EPMA Lab

Electron Microprobe Laboratory

This laboratory consists primarily of a state-of-the-art JEOL JXA-8530F microprobe.  This field-emission instrument is the first of it's kind in Canada and provides superior imaging capabilities, greater range of accelerating voltages (5-30 keV), and exceptional beam stability over long analysis periods.

Detectors available:

♦ 5 Wavelength Dispersive Spectrometers - Quantitative chemical analysis of elements from B to U, element maps.

♦ 2 TAP, LDE1, LDE2, PETJ, LIF, PETH, LIFH, PETL, LIFL analyzing crystals.

♦ Silicon Drift Energy Dispersive Spectrometer - Rapid identification of mineral phases, qualitative element maps.

♦ Backscattered Electron detector - Composition imaging

♦ Secondary Electron detector - Surface topography imaging

♦ Panchromatic Cathodoluminescence detector - Emitted visible light imaging

Samples Accommodated:

♦ Standard geological thin sections (27 mm x 46 mm)

♦ 25 mm round epoxy mounts

♦ Other sizes available upon request

♦ For best results samples should be polished, flat, and clean.  Typically samples must be coated with carbon prior to analysis.  Other coatings can be accommodated upon request.

Optical Microscopy Laboratory

In addition to the electron microprobe instrument, we also maintain a suite of optical microscopes to aid in the preliminary work (ie initial survey of minerals, identifying appropriate analysis locations).  The equipment available includes: 

Compound Microscopes

  • Olympus BX51
  • 2 x Nikon LV100POL
  • Digital Cameras on each

Binocular Microscope


  • Nikon SMZ1500
  • High-intensity illuminator 

Optical Scanner


  • Canon Canoscan 8800F
  • High-resolution scans of thin sections/grain mounts/core