Jackson School of Geosciences
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Department of Geological Sciences
E-Beam Lab Main Training Policy JEOL JXA-8200 EPMA Phillips/FEI XL30 ESEM JEOL JSM-6490LV SEM Bruker D8 XRD Other Instruments
Electron Microbeam Lab

Photo of equipment control knobs
In Geo 390R Students receive lots of hands-on-training

Training & becoming an authorized user:

Contact: Dr. Donggao Zhao
Phone: 512-471-1177 (O), 512-471-4949 (lab)


Training for these instruments is provided by a formal course GEO 390R Analytical Techniques: Electron-beam Analysis, which is offered every fall semester and required for all student users. Enrollment is limited, so don't wait to sign up. If you are not an authorized user, it's a good idea to start hanging out in the lab with your fellow students who are in the same research group with you or have research interests similar to yours. You may study the instructions in the labs first and become familiar with the locations of the various panel controls and what they're for. Donggao can answer further questions on aspects of machine operation that seem unclear, plus consult on the particular experimental settings or conditions that might be appropriate to your project. When you're ready to operate the machine, schedule some time with Donggao and show him that you can run the machine from startup to shutdown. If Donggao is convinced of your operation and you're comfortable with the machine, you get your pilot's license and become an authorized user. As an authorized user it's partly your job to help out with teaching new users who want to learn.

Specifics for Electron Microprobe

The electron probe is much more complicated. There are two crucial aspects that make learning probe operation a much bigger deal. First, the probe is automated to a far greater degree, making it necessary to involve the probe computer to some extent even in simple operations like moving your sample in and out of focus. Second, probe data are quantitative and there's a lot of computational and statistical rigmarole that comes into play between detection and data. If your project with EPMA is not likely to get underway within a semester of your finishing the course, it might be wiser to wait. It's awkward to sit down at the probe and get data if it's been a while since you used the instrument. In general, probe users who've finished the course get a sort of limited license, allowing them to schedule instrument use during normal working hours. Later, when Donggao decides you've logged considerable machine time with no problems, you get a full license and you can probe nights, weekends, whenever. 

Outside Users

Users from other departments at UT and also from outside the university occasionally bring samples to the Electron Microbeam Laboratories. Because this is primarily a teaching laboratory all users are required to run their own samples. There is no technician available to collect data for outside users. Most outside use takes place in the context of collaborative projects related to current research conducted by authorized users.

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