Electron Microprobe Laboratory

Our laboratory consists of the following:

  • An automated Cameca Camebax MBX Electron Microprobe equipped with 4 WDX X-ray Spectrometers
  • Lamont BSE detector
  • 4Pi X-ray and Digital Imaging System

Qualitative and quantitative electron microprobe x-ray analysis (EMPA) of minerals, including:

  • Common rock-forming minerals
  • Silicates and carbonates
  • Sulphides and precious metal minerals
  • Kimberlite indicator minerals
  • Rare earth element (REE) minerals
  • Rare metal minerals
  • Super alloys

Imaging techniques:

  • Backscattered electron imaging (BSE)

The electron microprobe is available to researchers across disciplines from academia, government and industry.

Sample preparation and documentation for EPMA 

  1. Probe analysis can be done either on thin section (46 mm×25 mm) with 1 mm thickness or mounted blocks (25 mm or 30 mm in diameter)

  2. Make sure your polished samples surface is cleaned and is free of grease or residue – wash it with soap and then with alcohol

  3. Samples should be carbon coated – 20 to 25µm carbon layer thickness

    • If not coated, make sure to bring your samples a few days before your appointment for carbon coating

    • Note that old coatings may affect the analysis so it should be removed and be coated again

  4. Mark the area of interest with permanent markers and connect the circles with fine lines – make sure your circle are big enough not to cross the grain of interest and not to affect the analysis

  5. Scan or take photo of your marked thin sections or mounted blocks

  6. Take photomicrographs from your grains of interest on each sample (both PPL and RL images if possible)

  7. Show points of interest for analyses on the photomicrographs

  8. Make a PowerPoint file showing the scan of the marked section, the photomicrographs of grains with points or lines of interest for analysis (this is an example for your reference)

  9. Make a list of minerals and elements of interest on each mineral ready- note that rare earth elements analysis needs special setup to avoid elemental peak overlap


Microprob Lab Earth Sciences Carleton University




Academic Users
Preferred Academic Users1
Industry Users


Academic Users: $35/hr

Preferred Academic Users1: $22/hr

Industry Users: $80/hr

Government: $50/hr

Carbon Coating2

Academic Users: $30/run

Preferred Academic Users1: $20/run

Industry Users: $30/run

Government: $30/run


1After spending $2000 in the fiscal year, academic users will be preferred academic users

2Each run is up to 4 thin sections and 5 mounted blocks of 25mm in diameter

Note: One hour setup time will be added for every analytical session.


Contact Information

Maryam Shahabi Far
Microbeam Imaging and Analysis Specialist 
(613) 520-2600 ext. 4415

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