Remote Electron Microprobe
Since January of 2005, we have a dedicated 4-screen terminal hub with which we can remotely operate the state-of-the-art SX100 CAMECA electron microprobe housed by Oregon State University in Corvallis via fast internet. Before the establishment of the REM-Lab, everybody in need of microprobe data on minerals or glasses needed to drive to Corvallis - the nearest microprobe from PSU - in order to directly operate the microprobe and to acquire the desired data. With the REM-Lab in place, we can analyze our samples with the microprobe at OSU directly from PSU. The advantages are obvious. We no longer spend 3-4 hours in the car for a roundtrip to Corvallis and thus conserve time and gas. But more importantly, we can devote more time to the actual analytical procedures such as selecting analysis points.
Fig. 1: Microprobe data of pyroxene of famous high-Mg andesite from Mt. Shasta acquired through REM lab.
The establishment of the REM lab was made possible by a OSU-PSU collaborative National Science Foundation grant. The grant mainly included the purchase of a new electron microprobe but the REM-Lab component was an important part for us.
Fig. 2: Top: BSE image of Mt. Shasta pyroxene with location of microprobe analysis traverse in blue; Bottom: compositional variation along analysis traverse in terms of Mg# vs. distance.
Standard procedures include sending thin sections to be analyzed to OSU a few days before the analytical session. The actual analytical session starts with calling the microprobe Lab at OSU and to log on. From that moment on, PSU operators are independent during calibration and analysis unless a sample change is required. OSU personnel exchange samples when desired.
During the period 2005-2009, we used the REM-Lab ~80 days (mostly on a 24-hour basis) acquiring an estimated amount of about 15,000 analysis points on major and accessory minerals as well as on glasses and metals. The main users of the facility are Drs Streck, Ruzicka, and Hutson (all PSU Geology) and their students. The REM-Lab plays a vital role in bringing state-of-the-art electron microprobe analysis to PSU. We were the first in the country to fully implement a dedicated lab to the cause of controlling remotely an electron microprobe.