Students excited about new scanning electron microscope MSU Texas Marketing & Public Information

Story Andy Newberry
2 min read

In 2019, the McCoy College of Science, Mathematics, & Engineering became home to a new imaging and analytical tool, a Hitachi SU-3500 variablepressure scanning electron microscope with an Oxford Xpolre 20 mm energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer. The microscope benefits biology, geosciences, engineering, and chemistry programs. The SU-3500 permits imaging fine-scale structures on solid materials with or without a conductive coating. The Oxford Xplore uses Oxford's new Aztec software to collect X-ray spectra generated by e-beam sample interactions, including line scans, raster maps, and semiquantitative analysis of elements heavier than boron at concentrations greater than 0.5 weight percentage.




My experiences with it have been amazing. Whenever I look at my rocks, and a lot of them contain minerals that look very similar, and this allows you to see what they’re made of. If you’re just looking at the rock to the untrained eye, it’s just pink minerals in the rock.

It takes a little tiny section of rock and shows you everything about the rock, and gives you a better idea of what minerals are there. It’s helped me differentiate between two different minerals, which are very hard to distinguish. The map tells you which ones have more sodium and which have more potassium.


I use it for identifying basic minerals and rock we gather from this area and the Wichita Mountains. This can tell us the kind of composition is there in the rocks. It’s actually pretty cool. I love what you can see with the maps, sodium, calcium, and aluminum.


A lot of schools don’t have things like this. With me, I love looking at the salts. The salts can hide minerals. The results have been pretty surprising. I’ve found some minerals I didn’t know were there. You’re able to distinguish the rock a little more. This opens up whole new windows for students.

One thing I like about this place is the equipment. It’s a smaller university and you don’t expect a small university like this to have so much equipment available like Texas Tech or Oklahoma, but we have the same stuff.