Devlin Hall 316 (my office and research lab) is home to our recently upgraded Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Facility within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College. The workhorse of this facility is a Tescan Mira 3 Schottky Field Emission SEM that can be operated in either high-vacuum or variable pressure modes, allowing for the characterization of coated or non-conductive specimens.
This FEG-SEM is equipped with a range of analytical detectors for materials imaging and characterization, including: secondary electron, backscattered electron, and cathodoluminescence detectors. Critical to the work done in my research group is our recently upgraded Oxford Instruments Symmetry electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) detector which is integrated with an X-Max 50 Silicon Drift Detector, thus allowing for the rapid determination of crystallographic fabrics (i.e. lattice preferred orientations), patterns of rock microstructure (textural mapping), and semi-quantitative mineralogical and compositional maps used in structural, deformation, and materials studies.
Supporting instrumentation for the SEM lab includes:
- An EMS 150TE turbomolecular pumped Carbon Coater for producing very thin conductive coatings used in imaging, EDS, and EBSD analyses
- A Struers LabPol-5 sample polishing system;
- Buehler MiniMet and Vibromet2 polishers used for EBSD sample surface preparation
- A digital camera-equipped petrographic microscope (Zeiss Axioskop 40) and macroscope (Leica Z6 APO) for transmitted and reflected light observation and imaging of polished thin sections
- A variety of computer workstations for post-processing and data analysis.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences also hosts a range of sample preparation equipment including jaw crushers, disc mills, a Wilfley table, assorted grinders and shatter boxes, and slab / rock saws that are used for mineral separation or the preparation of rock chips (i.e. billets) to be sent out for the production of commercial thin sections. Boston College also completed the construction of a new mineral separation laboratory within our department that includes a variety of instruments that may be used to support microstructural and petrologic studies, including a Frantz magnetic separator, fume hoods and environmentally friendly heavy liquids separation, and digital camera-equipped binocular microscopes for hand-picking and/or sample characterization.