Samples Prep

Types of Samples

  • 1″ , 1.25 ” or 1.5 ” round epoxy mounts
  • polished thin-sections (~30 um thick) or thick-sections (<100 um thick)

 The objective is to produce a surface for analysis that is absolutely flat, highly polished, and squeaky clean.




Common Steps

  1. Cutting of Specimens to size
  2. Mounting the specimen
  3. Labeling the specimen
  4. Grinding the specimen
  5. The initial polish (1 micron diamond, polishing)
  6. The final polish (0.3 micron alumina on cloth)
  7. Carbon coating the samples

Why do we need coating for the samples?

Where an uncoated high-resistive material, i.e. exceeding 10E10 ohm, is subjected to electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), the electrons lose their escape way.  Hence, an electric charge builds up on the surface of the specimen.  This leads to variations in the surface potential, giving rise to the complex and dynamic image artifacts commonly referred to as “charging”.  These artifacts will degrade the resolving power and analytical capabilities of the system by introducing astigmatism, instabilities, undue brightness and spurious z-ray signals.  This situation is made more difficult because many of the adhesives used to attach specimens to the substrate are themselves non-conductors and prevent the electrical charge from leaking away even from conductive samples.  Thus, a thin layer of conductive material (carbon in our lab) material is often applied on the samples prior to observation and analysis to eliminate the problems associated with charging.

We have the professional technical support to help you do this work!


Thin Section Lab Equipment List:

Cutting and Sectioning

( click here for a brief guide as to Choice-of-Saws-in-B178_2023)

Blue Slab Saw

Wet Tile Saw

Trimmer Saws (x2)

Slow Speed Diamond Saw for crystals

Isomet 4000 Precision Saw

Grinding and Polishing

Petrothin Vertical Grinder

Metaserv 250 Grinder and Polisher

Logitec LP30 Precision Grinder / lapping

Vibrational Polisher

           Email the Lab Personnel to get booking permissions for the Thin Section Calendar!