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New UCL Institute of Archaeology scanning electron microscope fully commissioned

27 June 2018

Carl Zeiss EVO 25 scanning electron microscope (SEM) at the UCL Institute of Archaeology

The latest addition to the Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, a Carl Zeiss EVO 25 scanning electron microscope (SEM) is now fully operational.

The state of the art instrument, funded by laboratory earned income, Departmental and Faculty funds, replaces an SEM which was well over a decade old.

Tom Gregory, Manager of Scanning Electron Microscopy & X-ray Microanalysis said:

  • “Over the past few years, we have upgraded and streamlined our facilities so that we now have an up to date and efficient laboratory, with two variable pressure SEMs and an electron microprobe, well suited to archaeological work but which are also used by staff from across UCL. With our other instrumentation, we have one of the best-equipped archaeological materials laboratories of any university.”

Scanning electron microscopes are used in archaeology for a wide range of investigations, from butchery marks on bone to the manufacturing techniques of jewellery. The UCL Institute of Archaeology offers a number of Master's courses during which students may receive SEM training and the laboratories are used in numerous dissertation projects, from undergraduate through to PhD.

Ian Freestone, Professor of Archaeological Materials and Technology observed:

  • “This new machine offers a number of advantages of importance to us. The large chamber allows us to examine whole artefacts, while the Oxford Instruments Aztec X-ray spectrometer allows us to produce high quality chemical analysis in a fraction of the time of our previous equipment. Overall, we see an improvement not only in the range of artefacts that we can examine, but also dramatic increases in throughput and quality.”

For more information, please contact Tom Gregory (t.gregory@ucl.ac.uk).

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