As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media.
The Imaging Laboratory (currently in process) will include various microscopes and equipment to image geological specimens and slides, including a luminoscope for cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging and spectroscopy of geologic minerals.
In CL, a broad beam of accelerated electrons is deflected onto the surface of a polished mineral mount or rock section. Outer shell electrons in the specimen are excited and emit energy with wavelengths that correspond to visible light (as well as the UV and near IR) upon relaxation. These colors can be digitally imaged to map out the often highly detailed growth history of minerals. In addition, the precise wavelengths emitted from a sample can be obtained with the spectroscopy system. This visible light spectrum allows one to more precisely identify individual components of luminescence.
The lab features an ELM-3R Luminoscope and MacPherson 200-mm scanning monochromator with Macpherson 789A controller. A vibration isolation table allows for improved high magnification imaging.