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Electron Microprobe Laboratory

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Contact Information

Ellery Frahm




Instrument Type

ELECTRON MICROBEAM - EDS energy dispersive spectrometer
ELECTRON MICROBEAM - CL cathodoluminescence detector +/- spectrometer
ELECTRON MICROBEAM - EMPA electron microprobe; wavelength dispersive spectrometers



Surface analysis

Typical Use:

The University of Minnesota Electron Microprobe Lab is a state-of-the-art facility for non-destructive chemical analyses of solids using a JEOL 8900 Electron Probe Microanalyzer. The electron microprobe bombards the surface of a sample with high-energy electrons, which stimulates emission of X-rays that are characteristic of the elements present in a sample. As a result, the microprobe is capable of quantitatively measuring the abundance of all elements from Be to U using five automated wavelength-dispersive spectrometers and an energy-dispersive spectrometer for rapid analyses. It is well-suited for micron-scale point analyses as well as both large- and small-scale element mapping.

With respect to geological research, our microprobe is commonly utilized for igneous, metamorphic, and experimental petrology as well as mineral investigations and geochronology. In addition, we have conducted analyses of metals, alloys, thin films, ceramics, optical fibers, and a wide range of other materials for physics, chemistry, and material sciences. Even human teeth and archaeological material have been analyzed with our electron microprobe.

Conditions for Use:

Submitted samples will be analyzed on a contract basis (i.e. lab personnel will do the work).
Visitors are invited to work in the lab to work with lab personnel.
Visitors are invited to work in the lab to design and do the work yourself.
Training Session (short course) is offered.

User Fees:

Please see our rates:

Instrument Priorities:

Funded research, outside visitors, industrial work, and class demonstrations are all welcome. Class demonstrations, in particular, are free to use our web-based remote access system.

Remote Use:

Please see our remote access page:

Sample Preparation:

Please see our Specimen FAQ:

Standard Collections/Lab Blanks:

Please contact the lab manager with specific questions.


Educational Use:

Class demonstrations are available for undergraduates.
Class demonstrations are available for K-12.
Graduate student research projects are invited.
Tutorials and other educational materials related to the lab are available.
Outreach and service endeavors continue to be part of our mission and include tours of our facilities and talks about microscopy, analysis, and research at our lab. We have given tours to high-school students interested in science, archaeology graduate students interested in stone tool analysis, gifted and talented middle-school students, and others. In addition, our web-based remote access system allows us bring our microprobe into the classroom. Please consult the Lab Manager with specific questions or requests.

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