Upgrade of the University of Kentucky ARL SEMQ Electron Probe Microanalyzer

Grants and Contracts Details


Intellectual Merit Models for the evolution of collisional orogens and deformation mechanisms of the lithosphere at the terrane to plate scale must account for the chemical composition and micron-scale chemical variations of the mineralogic constituents of rocks undergoing deformation. Such variations include (but are not limited to) the spatio-chemical variation of garnet and pyroxene that develops in response to prograde and retrograde mineralogic reactions and deformation; the type and extent of growth zoning in zircon and monazite, the most important geochronometers in dating lithosphere evolution; and the textures and minerals that characterize frictional melts produced during coseismic slip on faults. In most cases these observations require the micron-scale spatial resolution provided by the electron probe microanalyzer. The spatial resolution of the microprobe also permits identification and chemical analysis of the components of coal and black shales, and identification of the mineralogic constituents of prehistoric cultural artifacts. Funding is requested to upgrade the ARL SEMQ electron microprobe at the University of Kentucky. The upgrade is necessary to maintain productive research requiring the characterization of earth materials and in training and instruction of the next generation of mineralogists, petrologists, and geochemists. The upgrade is being supported by matching funds from the UK Vice-President for Research. Broader Impacts Originally manufactured 20 to 30 years ago, SEMQs in academic and industrial research labs worldwide have remained productive through upgrades of hardware and automation. The UK ARL has been a productive instrument running continuously since the initial upgrade in 1992. Theinstrument is the only electron microprobe in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, serving NSF-funded and internally funded intramural users (UK Earth and Environmental Science, Anthropology and Physics departments, Kentucky Geological Survey; UK Center for Applied Energy Research). It is also the closest or most accessible microprobe for NSF-funded researchers at neighboring out- of-state institutions. In addition to graduate student research, the UK microprobe is employed in undergraduate Mineralogy in lab exercises on chemical analysis and in student term projects involving analysis of mineral unknowns; and on class research projects in Petrology. All undergraduate majors take these courses (10-15 students/term). Several of the undergraduates go on to successful graduate careers in petrology and geochemistry. The pool of internal and external users permits collaboration among faculty and students in a variety of disciplines from a number of institutions. The results of analysis on the UK microprobe are disseminated via peer reviewed research articles, via lectures presented at regional, national, and international professional meetings, and via invited lectures at universities in the eastern U.S.
Effective start/end date12/1/085/30/10


  • National Science Foundation: $202,379.00


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