Advanced Rock Characterization Laboratory

Wil Mace, Sr. Laboratory Specialist
801-585-5214, wil.mace@utah.edu

Dr. Erich Petersen, Professor
801-581-7238, erich.petersen@utah.edu


Carl Zeiss EVO 50 Scanning Electron Microscope

Sample Format

QEMSCAN "ready" samples consist of a) polished-thin sections or b) rocks or loose particles (soil, chemical precipitates, crushed materials) mounted in 25 or 30 mm-round epoxy plugs. Smooth cut rock surfaces can also be used provided the samples fit the sample holders. One of the most important considerations is whether the prepared sample is a representative sample and captures the essence of what the investigator seeks to characterize. At this time we do not prepare polished thin-sections, but we can refer you to organizations that prepare polished thins-section. We can assist with the preparation of polished epoxy plugs of the required dimensions. Samples are carbon-coated prior to analysis. For more information on sample preparation, contact the lab or visit the Sample Prep Lab Website.


Analysis of a sample involves instrument set-up and the creation of a sample naming and analysis protocol. The analysis protocol involves the specification of type of sample to be analyzed (plugs, thin-sections), type of analysis (point count, field stitch, etc), portion of sample to be analyzed, sample location, spatial resolution, reference spectral library, and several other parameters. Analyses run in automated fashion and runs on single sample may last a few minutes or many hours, depending on the experimental set-up to obtain the required data.

Data Reduction

After the analytical run is complete, the results are examined and assembled into reports that focus on the users need. This involves the verification of the correct classification of spectra into relevant mineral grouping, color selection, generation of images and pertinent graphs and tables. Depending on the complexity of the sample this step can represent a significant portion of the entire analytical sequence. At a higher level, QEMSCAN data are iteratively incorporated in ongoing projects.

Rates (charged per hour): $75 (internal), $150 (External)

Minimum charge: $75 (Internal), $150 (External).