Instrumentation and Techniques

These pages outline the instrumentation within the Adrian Finch Research Group, most notably the Facility for the Luminescence of Minerals at the University of St Andrews. The facility has been designed to allow detailed spectroscopic analysis of minerals and synthetic solids. We can measure luminescence using a variety of forms of excitation including lasers, x-rays, electrons and heat from 20 K to 400 C. Time-resolved luminescence measurements with lifetimes from ns to s can also be measured.

The facility has recently been reopened following a move to a purpose-built luminescence suite on the University of St Andrews North Haugh Science campus.

The purpose of the instrumentation is to use the physical and optical properties of minerals to probe the nature and concentrations of defects in mineral systems. The manner in which defects form, are stabilised and cluster are sensitively recorded in the luminescence and colour of minerals.

We have UV-Visible Spectrophotometer system which can measure the colour in reflectance and transmission modes from the near UV (250 nm) to the near IR (800 nm).

We image the luminescence from heterogeneous samples using electron (cathodoluminescence) and laser (405 nm) excitation. Our luminescence imaging systems are described here.

We can measure the spectroscopy of the luminescence from samples after x-ray, electron and laser excitation. Most of our work is performed on a bespoke spectroscopy system, for which a full description is given here. We can measure the luminescence in continuous wave mode (electrons and x-rays only) or in time-resolved mode (laser). We have a 372 nm laser with ps-lifetimes which can be used to perform time-resolved luminescence studies for luminescence between ns and micro-second lifetimes. Our bespoke system can measure lifetimes between micro-second to ms to s lifetimes.

We welcome interest from other groups interested in using the facility.

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The Instrumentation includes:

  1. UV-Visible Spectrophotometry (Perkin Elmer 650 Lambda).
  2. Petrographic Cathodoluminescence (CITL Luminoscope V with a dedicated high sensitivity CCD camera). A manual for this is found here: CL Manual St Andrews.
  3. Laser-excited luminescence imaging using a 405 nm laser (designed and built by Nicky Horsburgh for the SoS RARE and HiTech AlkCarb projects).
  4. UV-excitation spectroscopy system (built in house)
  5. X-ray-, electron- and laser-excited luminescence spectroscopy from 20 K to 400 C (RLTLCL system, built in house)
  6. ns lifetime time-resolved photoluminescence (using a fixed 372 nm picosecond laser) (an Edinburgh Instruments Lifespec 2 system)
  7. High temperature tube furnaces for making synthetic mineral analogues and for the thermal treatment of natural materials.

In-house software for processing RLTLCL data for Windows can be uploaded here.

Advice on importing RLTLCL data into Origin is given here: Importing RLTLCL data into Origin 11 May 2015.