Scientists from United States Geological Survey (USGS) presented a public lecture on the applications of electron microscopy in Earth Sciences which took place on February 2017 in Menlo Park Campus, San Francisco. The lecture briefly covered the basic principles of SEM as well as applications in different geological fields.
USGS manages the TESCAN SEM VEGA3 system at the mentioned facility. The microscope is equipped with multiple detectors thus enabling a wide range of applications. For instance, the Low Vacuum Secondary Electron TESCAN Detector (LVSTD), a dedicated SE detector for low vacuum conditions, allows imaging uncoated delicate samples that would otherwise be damaged if imaged at high vacuum. Soils and even gas hydrates were discussed in the lecture.
The usefulness of the Panchromatic Cathodoluminescence detector as a tool that provides valuable insight into the zircon growth history in relation to magmatic petrology was also addressed. The general imaging capabilities of TESCAN VEGA3 were demonstrated on fossils and polished rocks samples.