Lab Services

Recharge Rates

There is a recharge fee for use of the facilities needed for maintenance and training. Make arrangements in advance by contacting John Grimsich: Rates are per hour and differ for internal users (UC) and external users (private).

Lab Service Rates
EPS UndergradUCUCExternalExternal
independentindependentw/ assistanceindependentw/ assistance
Rock Crushing & General Sample Prep:XXXX$17.00$45.00$50.00$90.00
Thin Section Lab, Grinding & Polishing Equipment:XXXX$17.00$45.00$50.00$90.00
Speciality Lab Projects:XXXXXXXX$105.00XXXX$150.00
Contact Name: John Grimsich

Sample Preparation

The Department maintains extensive facilities for sample preparation producing thin sections, polished sections, rock powders and mineral separates. There are several saws for making cuts at different scales. There are automatic and manual grinders and polishers using diamond, SiC, alumina and colloidal silica. A variety of epoxies and temporary adhesives are available for different applications. Rock crushing and separating equipment includes a jaw crusher, disc mill, sieves, a shatterbox for making powders and two magnetic separators. There is also a fully equipped machine shop, wood shop and carbon coater.

Petrographic Thin Section Lab and Student Rock Shop 
Production of 30 micron thin sections and polished thin sections. Cutting of samples to a variety of sizes Mounts made for Electron Microprobe, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Additional products include grain mounts and fluid inclusion sections. High temperature sample preparation (eg. XRD clay mounts). The thin section lab and student rock shop contains the following equipment:

• 10” Diamond trim saw (water cooled)
• Wafering saw with 150μm blade
• Manual thin section saw (kerosene cooled)
• Four lapidary grinding wheels
• Diamond grinding wheel
• Large hot plate with fume hood
• Drying oven
• Vacuum impregnation device and desiccators
• Six polishing machines
• Three petrographic microscopes
• Two dissecting scopes
• Three fume hoods
• 6” Diamond trim saw
• 8” Diamond trim saw
• 24” Diamond slab saw
• Thin section saws (water cooled)
• Drying oven
• Spex pulverizer with tungsten carbide and alumina dishes
• Spex mixer/shaker
• Sieves with shaker and sample splitters
• Muffle furnace, max temperature 1000°C
• Frantz magnetic separator

Rock Crushing Lab 
Crushing, coring, and cutting of samples with the following equipment:

• Rock breaking table
• Jaw crusher
• Two Bico disc mills
• Coring machine
• 10” Diamond hydraulic saw
• Drying oven
• Dust collection system

Machine and Wood Shop

Fabrication of metal, plastics and wood for experimental and lab work using the following equipment:

• 2 lathes
• Milling machine with digital readout
• 2 drill presses
• 2 band saws
• 2 belt sanders
• Bending brake
• Shear
• 10” Jet table saw
• 10” Makita sliding miter saw
• Hand power tools
• Multiple pipe and bar clamps

Contact Name: 
John Grimsich

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

The Zeiss EVO-10 Variable Vacuum SEM is available for general research and can be used for both secondary electron (SE) and backscattered electron (BE) imaging. Qualitative chemical analyses can be performed with a energy-dispersive X-ray detector (EDS). The SEM is also used for electron backscatter pattern (EBSP) and orientation imaging (OIM) as applied to analysis of preferred orientation.

Common Uses: Excellent for imaging surface morphology (texture), crystal structure, orientation and composition of samples in both thin section and free-standing mounts. For scheduling, please contact Tim Teague (

SEM Lab details:

  • Zeiss EVO Variable Vacuum Instrument -10
  • Tungsten filament
  • Large sample chamber with 9 position sample holder.
  • Variable pressure capable
  • Detectors:Secondary electron; Secondary electron VP; Backscatter electron
  • EDAX system for chemical analysis with silicon drift detector and thin window (detects down to Boron).
  • Electron Backscatter diffraction (EBSD) for crystal orientation measurement.
  • Carbon evaporator
  • Gold sputter coater
Contact Name: 
John Grimsich

X-Ray Diffraction Lab (XRD)

XRD is used to identify and characterize crystal phases in powdered samples. Minerals and synthetic crystals produce characteristic x-ray patterns that can be compared with a database of known phases using analytical software. The department has a PANalytical X’Pert Pro diffractometer equipped with a Co x-ray tube and the very fast X’Celerator detector. The unit has a 15 position sample changer and a set of low background sample holders for samples as small as 1 milligram.

XRD Specs
• Panalytical X’Pert Pro
• 15 position sample changer
• X’Celerator fast detector 100x faster than scintillation counter
• Co tube
• Silicon and quartz zero background plates for samples down to 1mg. 

Contact Name: 
John Grimsich