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The ability of the Hitachi S-3700N scanning electron microscope to work in high vacuum and variable pressure modes as well as its capacious sample chamber make the instrument useful in studying the morphology of crystals and rocks, microorganisms (e.g. diatoms, radiolarians, conodonts), plants and their pollen, microporosity, the structure of paintings, and the patina covering historical objects or jewellery.

The attached microanalyser makes it possible to determine the chemical composition of natural and synthetic minerals, metal alloys, paintings, pieces of jewellery, etc.

The fume cupboard mounted in the Lab allows drying samples with the help of chemicals.

At present the SEM-EDS Lab is mainly used for the purposes of five Ministry of National Education grants and two projects of an international range, numerous doctoral, master’s and licentiate dissertations, and two classes for geology students: “Methods in the study of rocks and minerals” and “Technical and experimental petrography”.

Apart from the research and classes, the Lab has provided training for a grant-holder from Spain under the Leonardo da Vinci programme.