Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences

EPMA laboratory

6100 Main Street, Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratory, Houston, TX, 77005, Rooms 329-330A

Rice University Electron Microprobe Laboratory is equipped with the state-of-the-art JEOL JXA 8530F Hyperprobe, a field emission Electron Probe MicroAnalyzer (EPMA).

Electron microprobe analysis provides precise quantitative chemical analysis of elements in very small volumes (<1 to 10 μm3 or more) of solid inorganic specimens.

The capabilities include:

  • Full quantitative analysis. All detectable elements (from Be to U) are quantified on a spot of <100 nm to 1μm diameter or larger. Detection limits range 30-100 ppm, depending on the element and settings. High analytical resolution at a low accelerating voltage (2-10 kV), where micron-scale particles can be analyzed.
  • Rapid qualitative analysis, in EDS or WDS mode and phase identification
  • Line analyses (rapid compositional profiles)
  • High-resolution chemical mapping of specimens on scales from <100 nm  to ca 8 cm, quantitative element maps, phase map analysis
  • Imaging specimens at a micro- and nano-scale scale using backscattered electron (BSE) and secondary electron (SE) signal
  • Remote access and operation of EPMA

The EPMA facility is open to users from all departments of Rice University, as well as to external academic visitors, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and local and national businesses.

About the lab: EPMA configuration and capabilities

Booking EPMA instrument time

Sample requirements


Rates and payment

About the EPMA method



Dr. Gelu (Gabi) CostinSave
EPMA Lab Manager
Department of Earth Science
Rice University
6100 Main Street, Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratory, MS-126
Houston, TX, 77005

e-mail:         Phone:  Office: 713 348 2054

EPMA Laboratory at Rice University hosts a new, state-of-the-art field emission electron microprobe JEOL JXA 8530F Hyperprobe, equipped with five wavelength dispersive spectrometers (WDS) and one energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS). The microprobe started to operate in January 2016.

EPMA Laboratory at Rice University hosts a new, state-of-the-art field emission electron microprobe JEOL JXA 8530F Hyperprobe, equipped with five wavelength dispersive spectrometers (WDS) and one energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS). The microprobe started to operate in January 2016.

Quantitative WDS element map distribution in garnet (Franciscan eclogite).

WDS quantitative element maps of a metallurgical slag: A) BSE image; B), C) and D) Element distribution maps (in atom wt%) of Al, O and C, respectively.

Backscattered electron (BSE) image of spinel (black) and ulvospinel (gray) exsolution lamelae in host of Ti-magnetite. Upper Zone, Bushveld Igneous Complex, South Africa.

High resolution, detailed backscattered electron (BSE) image of spinel (black) and ulvospinel (gray) exsolution lamelae in host of Ti-magnetite. Upper Zone, Bushveld Igneous Complex, South Africa.

Wavelength Dispersive Spesctrometry (WDS) element distribution map of Ti in magnetite. Upper Zone, Bushveld Igneous Complex, South Africa.

Mg distribution map in zoned olivine (Colossus kimberlite, Zimbabwe).

Secondary electron (SE) image of Mutilatus (labium).

Secondary Electron (SE) image at nano-scale. Surface cavities in crystallites. The scale bar is 100 nm.

Nano-scale exsolution lamelae of ulvospinel in magnetite. Scale bar is 100 nm.

Qualitative analysis (WDS scan): Spectrum of Glass_7_Reference_C_NMH117218-2 and semi-quantitative analyse.

Line analysis across a Fe-rich and Ti-poor exsolution lamelae within an ilmenite host. The thickness of the lamelae is 1.2 micron!

WDS quantitative map of Al (atom wt%) in a metallurgical slag.

List of publications with EPMA data acquired in our laboratory

  1. Grewal, D. S., Dasgupta, R., & Farnell, A. (2020). The speciation of carbon, nitrogen, and water in magma oceans and its effect on volatile partitioning between major reservoirs of the Solar System rocky bodies. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 280, 281–301.
  2. Ding, S., Dasgupta, R., & Tsuno, K. (2020). The Solidus and Melt Productivity of Nominally Anhydrous Martian Mantle Constrained by New High Pressure-Temperature Experiments—Implications for Crustal Production and Mantle Source Evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125(4), 0–2.
  3. Moine, B.N., Bolfan-Casanova, N., Radu, I.B. et al. Molecular hydrogen in minerals as a clue to interpret ∂D variations in the mantle. Nat Commun 11, 3604 (2020).
  4. Tang, M., Lee, C. A., Ji, W., Wang, R., & Costin, G. (2020). Crustal thickening and endogenic oxidation of magmatic sulfur. Science Advances, 6, 31, eaba6342. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba6342
  5. Lara, M. & Dasgupta, R. (2020) Partial Melting of a Depleted Peridotite Metasomatized by a MORB-Derived Hydrous Silicate Melt–Implications for Subduction Zone MagmatismGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 290: doi:10.1016/j.gca.2020.09.001
  6. Chowdhury, P. & Dasgupta, R. (2020). Sulfur extraction via carbonated melts from sulfide-bearing mantle lithologies – Implications for deep sulfur cycle and mantle redox. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier Ltd 269, 376–397.
  7. Yudovskaya, M.A., Costin, G., Sluzhenikin, S.F. et al. (2020). Hybrid norite and the fate of argillaceous to anhydritic shales assimilated by Bushveld melts. Miner Deposita
  8. Cao, W., Yang, J.*, Zuza, A.V., Ji, W.Q., Ma, X.X., Chu, X. and Burgess, Q.P. (2020). Crustal tilting and differential exhumation of Gangdese Batholith in southern Tibet revealed by bedrock pressures. Earth and Planetary Science Letters543, p.116347
  9. Yang, M., Frank, T.D., Fielding, C.R., Smith, M.E., Swart, P.K. (2019). Origin of blocky aragonite cement in Cenozoic glaciomarine sediments , McMurdo Sound , Antarctica. Sedimentology, doi: 10.1111/sed.12690
  10. James Eguchi, Johnny Seales, & Rajdeep Dasgupta (2019). Great oxidation and Lomagundi events linked by deep cycling and increased degassing of carbon. Nature Geoscience
  11. Swaminathan, J., Puthirath, A. B., Sahoo, M. R., Nayak, S. K., Costin, G., Vajtai, R., Shari, T. & Ajayan, P. M. (2019). Tuning the Electrocatalytic Activity of Co3O4 through discrete elemental doping. ACS Applied Material and Interfaces.
  12. Tang, M., Lee, C. A., Costin, G., Höfer, H. E., Geowissenschaften, I. & Goethe-universität, J. W. (2019). Recycling reduced iron at the base of magmatic orogens. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Elsevier B.V. 528, 115827.
  13. Moya, J. M., Huang, C., Choe, J., Costin, G., Foster, M. S. & Morosan, E. (2019). Effect of synthesis conditions on the electrical resistivity of TiSe 2. Physical Review Materials. American Physical Society 3, 84005.
  14. Costin, G., Götz, A. E. & Ruckwied, K. (2019). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology Sedimentary organic matter characterization of the Whitehill shales (Karoo Basin, South Africa): An integrated quantitative approach using. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. Elsevier B.V. 268, 29–42.
  15. Chowdhury, P. & Dasgupta, R. (2019). Effect of sulfate on the basaltic liquidus and Sulfur Concentration at Anhydrite Saturation (SCAS) of hydrous basalts – Implications for sulfur cycle in subduction zones. Chemical Geology. Elsevier 522, 162–174.
  16. Grewal, D. S., Dasgupta, R., Holmes, A. K., Costin, G., Li, Y. & Tsuno, K. (2019). The fate of nitrogen during core-mantle separation on Earth. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier Ltd 251, 87–115.
  17. Grewal, D. S., Dasgupta, R., Sun, C., Tsuno, K. & Costin, G. (2019). Delivery of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur to the silicate Earth by a giant impact. Science Advances 5, 1–12.
  18. Sun, C. & Dasgupta, R. (2019). Slab-mantle interaction, carbon transport, and kimberlite generation in the deep upper mantle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 506: 38-52. doi:1016/j.epsl.2018.10.028
  19. Ming Tang, Cin-Ty A. Lee, Kang Chen, Monica Erdman, G. C. & H. J. (2019). Nb/Ta systematics in arc magma differentiation and the role of arclogites in continent formation. Nature Communications 1–8.
  20. Tsuno, K., Grewal, D. S. & Dasgupta, R. (2018). Core-mantle fractionation of carbon on Earth and Mars: the effects of sulfur. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 238, 477-495. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2018.07.010
  21. Carter, L. B. & Dasgupta, R. (2018). Decarbonation in the Ca-Mg-Fe carbonate system at mid-crustal pressure as a function of temperature and assimilation with arc magmas – Implications for long-term climate. Chemical Geology 492, 30-48. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.05.024
  22. Eguchi, J. & Dasgupta, R. (2018). A CO2 solubility model for silicate melts from fluid saturation to graphite or diamond saturation. Chemical Geology 487, 23-38. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.04.012
  23. Saha, S., Dasgupta, R. & Tsuno, K. (2018). High pressure-temperature phase relations of a depleted peridotite fluxed by CO2-H2O-bearing siliceous melts and the origin of mid-lithospheric discontinuity. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 19, 595-620. doi:10.1002/2017GC007233
  24. Ding, S., Hough, T. & Dasgupta, R. (2018). New high pressure experiments on sulfide saturation of high-FeO* basalts with variable TiO2 contents – Implications for the sulfur inventory of the lunar interior. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 222, 319-339. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2017.10.025
  25. Balan, A. P. et al. (2018). Exfoliation of a non-van der Waals material from iron ore hematite. Nature Nanotechnology.
  26. Sharifi, T., Yazdi, S., Costin, G., Apte, A., Coulter, G., Tiwary, C. & Ajayan, P. M. (2018). Impurity controlled crystal growth in low dimensional bismuth telluride. Chemistry of Materialschemmater.8b02548.
  27. Wei, Q., Dai, S., Lefticariu, L. & Costin, G. (2018). Electron probe microanalysis of major and trace elements in coals and their low-temperature ashes from the Wulantuga and Lincang Ge ore deposits, China. Fuel. Elsevier 215, 1–12.
  28. Yadav, T. P. et al. (2018). Chromiteen: A New 2D Oxide Magnetic Material from Natural Ore. Advanced Materials Interfaces 1800549, 1800549.
  29. Yudovskaya, M. A., Sluzhenikin, S. F., Costin, G., Shatagin, K. N., Dubinina, E. O., Grobler, D. F., Ueckermann, H. & Kinnaird, J. A. (2018). Anhydrite assimilation by ultramafic melts of the Bushveld Complex , and its consequences to petrology and mineralization Chapter 9 Anhydrite Assimilation by Ultramafic Melts of the Bushveld Complex , and Its Consequences to Petrology and Mineralization. SEG Special Publications 21, 177–206.
  30. Sharifi, T., Zhang, X., Costin, G., Yazdi, S., Woellner, C. F., Liu, Y., Tiwary, C. S. & Ajayan, P. (2017). Thermoelectricity Enhanced Electrocatalysis. Nano Lettersnanolett.7b04244.
  31. Wu, A., Xie, Y., Ma, H., Tian, C., Gu, Y., Yan, H., Zhang, X., Yang, G. & Fu, H. (2018). Integrating the active OER and HER components as the heterostructures for the efficient overall water splitting. Nano Energy. Elsevier Ltd 44, 353–363.
  32. Jiang, H., Lee, C.-T.A., 2017. Coupled magmatism–erosion in continental arcs: Reconstructing the history of the Cretaceous Peninsular Ranges batholith, southern California through detrital hornblende barometry in forearc sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 472: 69-81.