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Understand the composition and formation of geological materials

Study grains and cement in sedimentary rocks, observe changes in the chemical composition of zircons, and obtain insights into impurity distributions in gemstones with cathodoluminescence (CL).

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What we can help you with
  • Provide access to unique textural information and contrast in your geological sample
  • Gain insights into the composition, history,  and provenance of rocks
  • Study inter-and intra-granular features
  • Image zonation and deformation features
Cathodoluminescence image of quartz sandstone

Gain new insights into geological materials

The cathodoluminescence emission from a rock can provide insights into crystal growth, zonation, cementation, chemical replacement, deformation, provenance, trace elements, and defect structures. Use CL solutions to study geological specimens to fingerprint rocks and reveal interesting spatial textures on a submicron scale.

CL presents a valuable technique for fundamental sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock studies but also for more applied studies on ores, precious gems, reservoir rocks, and construction materials. It is often combined with other analytical tools such as SIMS, BSE and EDS for a more complete understanding of rock properties.

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What we can offer

Obtain unique spectroscopic and textural data from your sample
Obtain unique spectroscopic and textural data from your sample

Get information that no other technique can obtain

Powerful hardware and software for in-depth analysis
Powerful hardware and software for in-depth analysis

Image your samples and quantitatively map the CL emission

Various cathodoluminescence imaging modes
Various imaging modes

Use large-area hyperspectral CL imaging to study spatially extended structures

Support of Delmic application experts
Support of our application experts

Get the most of your CL system with the help of our application experts

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What results can I achieve with cathodoluminescence?

Cathodoluminescence (CL) is more and more frequently applied in the geosciences for studying various rock and mineral types. CL provides complementary contrasts to other EM techniques. In intensity mapping mode the technique is very fast and high-resolution images can be acquired in a matter of seconds. Large image mosaics can be made by making use of stage tiling. Hyperspectral CL imaging adds the possibility of acquiring high-resolution emission spectra that can be used for detailed characterization and identification of impurity or defect species for example.

SEM image of a zircon crystal Panchromatic CL intensity image of zircon crystal
SEM (right) and Panchromatic CL intensity (left) images of a zircon crystal. In the CL map the crystal zonation is clearly visible. Image courtesy of Siri Simonsen (University of Oslo)
Professor of Carleton College Cameron Davidson

The large area mapping and stitching capabilities of the Delmic software are phenomenal. We make large area maps of our grain mounts that contain over a thousand zircons.

Prof. Cameron Davidson


Carleton College

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Talk to one of our experts to learn how our solutions can support you in your research.

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Delmic applications specialist Sangeetha Hari