An electron microprobe, mass spectrometers and other high-powered scientific instruments have a home in the Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory in the Reichardt Building. Researchers from UAF and across the state of Alaska use the instruments to analyze their samples and generate data for their work.
AIL specializes in electron microscopy and surface and elemental analysis. It also has support sample preparation facilities. Unlike many commercial laboratories, lab scientists will work with clients and students to develop the best method to help them solve a problem. The university also offers several courses that teach graduate and undergraduate students how to use certain instruments.
Here’s an example of how one instrument led to gold:
Our new electron microprobe has allowed new understanding of several precious metal deposits in Alaska. Much of the gold at the Sumitomo Metal Mines Pogo deposit is “invisible,” detectable by standard chemical means, but not economically recoverable from a practical mining standpoint. The microprobe can detect this “invisible gold” on a small spatial scale, and analyses have led to a new understanding of the distribution of gold at the Pogo deposit, ultimately facilitating the discovery of several million additional ounces of gold.
Instruments in our Lab: