Sample Preparation Facility (prepLab)
The Sample Preparation Facility (prepLab) is a high-precision sample preparation facility – located in 329 Cobleigh Hall. This facility allows preparation of ultra-high quality polished specimens for SEM, TEM, EDX, nano-Auger, EBSD and other microbeam analysis requiring flat, smooth, and damage-free surfaces.
1. Pelcon automatic petrographic thin section machine with diamond drum grinders.
The Pelcon achieves micron-level flatness and consistent thickness for superior thin
and ultra-thin sections on glass slides. Ideal for sectioning of hard and/or brittle
materials including minerals/biominerals, rock, bone, ceramics, and sediments. Maximum
section size 50 x 75 mm (2” x 3”).
2. Allied High Tech TechCut 4 precision low-speed saw
Used for cutting small and/or delicate samples. Variable speed 0-500 rpm and sample
load 0-300 grams; 0.4 mm kerf; can use water, oil, or cutting fluid as lubricant.
Maximum sample size approximately 50 x 50 x 50 mm (2” x 2” x 2”)
3. Allied High Tech MetPrep 3 grinder-polisher
With PH-3 power head. Fully adjustable sample pressure (0-220 N) and platen/sample
rotation speed (0-600 rpm/0-150 rpm) for efficient grinding/polishing of hard samples.
Easily interchangeable grinding/polishing surfaces and media facilitates precision
surface finishing on a wide range of materials.
4. Allied High Tech Multiprep grinder-polisher
With micron-adjustable sample holder for controlled sample removal. Sample advancement
adjustment to 1 mm, angular positioning adjustment (+10°/-2.5°) to 0.02°, and 0-600
g sample load allow precision control of surface preparation for small (< 25 mm) metal,
ceramic, and mineral samples.
5. Buehler Vibromet vibratory polisher
Used for non-directional ultra-polishing with colloidal silica or sub-micron diamond slurry. Large 25 cm polishing surface allows polishing of large slabs or up to 12 smaller samples simultaneously. Sample holders for 25-50 mm rounds or standard 27 x 47 mm petrographic slides and variable 200-800 g sample load. The Vibromet is ideal for final polishing to remove sub-micron scratches and subsurface damage and lattice distortion in most materials prior to Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD), Auger nanoprobe, or other surface sensitive analysis.
6. Vacuum embedding/impregnation system
Includes a large, 25 x 40 cm vacuum chamber. Allied High TechPC-100 positive pressure
chamber allows curing at up to 2.4 bar pressure to minimize gas exsolution and maximize
penetration into sub-micro pore and fractures for clear, bubble-free and encapsulation,
impregnation, and embedding of any dry sample.
7. Nikon Optiphot POL
This tool reflects/transmits light through a polarizing microscope. Epi-illuminator provides a reflected light path to monitor and document progress of surface finish between preparation steps in transparent, translucent, or opaque materials. Transmitted light illumination is used with the Michel-Levy chart to monitor section thickness using interference colors of birefringent materials and to check overall section quality.
Qualified users may use the equipment – except for the Pelcon thin sectioning machine – for a fee. The cost of all expendables is included in the fee. New users MUST complete ½ hour of training ($30) prior to using equipment. All equipment and expendable usage must be recorded in the equipment log books and all relevant safety protocols must be followed. Violation of laboratory policies will not be tolerated.
|Grinder/polishers||$30/hour + training||Self-service – Users may schedule time to grind or polish samples after ½ hour training session.|
|Vibratory polisher||$30/batch + training||Self-service – Users may schedule time to grind or polish samples after ½ hour training session.|
|Mounting Encapsulation Impregnation||$3.00/mount + training||Self-service – Users may schedule time to grind or polish samples after ½ hour training
|Training & technical assistance||
|½ hour training session ($30) is required for lab use. Additional training assistance, or consulting are offered upon request at the published rate.|
|Pelcon thin section machine||$65/section (12 minimum)||Thin sections services can be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.|
Pelcon Thin Section Machine. Microprobe/EBSD polished petrographic thin sections of encapsulated mineral mounts, rock, concrete, encapsulated sediments, bone, or other materials must be prepared by qualified technicians. We do not prepare covered thin sections. If you are interested in having thin sections made contact email@example.com. In general, it is not practical to process fewer than 12 thin sections in a batch. Our equipment is best suited to specialized procedures that require a high degree of user control. For routine thin section preparation, we recommend commercial petrography labs that offer high-quality preparation at reasonable rates.
Thin section preparation Resources
- AMiGEO (Analytical Methods in Geosciences) rock sample preparation lab playlist. Watch this video to learn about the equipment, procedures, and safety in a petrographic thin section preparation lab.
- AMiGEO (Analytical Methods in Geosciences) thin section preparation video playlist. Watch this video series to learn the steps involved in petrographic thin section preparation.