In 2010, Concord University, a 2800-student, predominantly undergraduate institution in southern West Virginia, installed an ARL SEMQ microprobe as the first stage of a plan to establish a microanalytical facility that is open to outside commercial and academic users, with emphasis on undergraduate teaching and research. The West Virginia Research Trust Fund provided major support for initial operation of this, the only electron microprobe in West Virginia. This instrument is also one of the exceedingly few research-grade electron microprobes located at an undergraduate institution. With support from a West Virginia EPSCoR Innovation Grant, the instrument recently received its first major upgrade since installation - a new high-sensitivity energy-dispersive (EDS) x-ray system based on a 30mm2
active area silicon drift detector (SDD) with light-element capability. The detector is complemented by a comprehensive software package which allows for rapid X-ray and phase mapping, spectral imaging, and automated particle characterization. Concord University also houses a Horiba XGT-5000 micro-X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analytical microscope for qualitative elemental mapping of areas as large as 100 cm2
with a resolution of 0.01-0.1 mm.
This equipment affords outstanding opportunities for our students who have taken to the new capabilities with enthusiasm. We have begun the process of incorporating microanalysis into the curriculum at all levels from introductory general education to advanced major courses in multiple disciplines, including the earth sciences, chemistry, and physics/material science. Initial enrollment in our new microanalysis course exceeded expectations. Both instruments are also used in an active and growing student-faculty research program. We are currently working microanalysis into additional courses and course sections, and we are formulating plans to extend this to our satellite campus by developing remote-operation and videoconferencing capabilities.