Electron Microprobe Laboratory
Alan Patchen sits with one of the Department's major analytical instruments, the Cameca SX-50 Electron Microprobe with four wavelength spectrometers and and energy dispersive system (EDS). This computer-based instrument is capable of performing fully automated, non-destructive chemical analyses on 1-5 micron spots on polished surfaces. The Oxford Instruments (formerly Link) software on the EDS unit permits detailed back-scattered electron (BSE) and x-ray digital-imaging analysis to obtain modal data, as well as various shape values.
For example, below is the BSE image of the fine grained eucrite ALHA81001 meteorite. Skeletal grains are pyroxene in a plagioclase-composition glass. Extremely fine-grained ilmenite is also seen as bright specks throughout the sample.