The thin section lab within the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences has an extensive range of equipment for the production of thin section slides from a wide range of sample types

lapping plates

We currently have two Logitech lapping plates (LP50s), three Buehler saws (Petrocut, Isomet 5000 & small Isomet) and a Logitech CL40 Polishing plate

Impregnated blocks of soil are sliced, lapped on the LP40/LP50s then bonded to slides. The excess is trimmed on the saw and the slide lapped to a nominal thickness of 30µm. Finally the slides are polished with 3µm and 1µm diamond in oil on the CL40. For more information please complete the on-line form or go to the consultancy page to find out more about the services we offer.

microscope labThe Microscopy lab has a wide range of equipment allowing a variety of sample scales to be examined. A Leica Macroscope complements, our Olympus microscope systems (4 BX-51, 3 BX-41 & 2 BH-2). Two BX systems are equipped with digital capture facilities as is the Laica Macroscope, and one BH is set up for fluorescence microscopy. The department currently operates an image analysis system using Olympus Stream. The system comprises of an Olympus BX-50 microscope, a CV III digital colour camera and a Märzhäuser-Lang motorised stage. The system allows analysis of soil thin section slides obtaining information such as pore space, particle size distribution and the size, shape and orientation of soil features.


We are also equipped with a Zeiss Evo Ma15 Scanning Electron Microscope. The system is ideal for imaging and X-ray analysis. Fitted with a motorised 5 axis stage with large XY and Z travel, variable pressure capability as standard. The system is fitted with SE, Backscatter and VP-SE detectors as well as an Oxford Instruments 80 mm2 silicon drift X-ray detector for fast quantitative X-ray analysis.