MTDXRF Laboratory

The Middle Tennessee State University Department of Geosciences an X-ray fluorescence laboratory which is available for academic, government, and private industry uses. The laboratory utilizes an Oxford Instruments MDX 1080+ multi-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (MDXRF) spectrometer, acquired in Spring 2000, with grant monies provided by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education.

MDXRF is an elemental analysis method that combines classical techniques of wavelength dispersive and energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence, allowing high performance measurements to be made on low to high atomic number elements (Alumina to Uranium) in a variety of sample types. The MDX 1080+ is equipped for multi-elemental semi-quantitative (standardless) and quantitative analysis of both solids and liquids. Applications for MDXRF include materials such as cement, rock, minerals, soils, plastics, glass, metals and ceramics.

An important goal of the MTSU XRF laboratory is to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in geochemical sample preparation and analysis. Accordingly, most sample preparations and analyses are performed by MTSU undergraduate students under the supervision of Department of Geosciences faculty. Visiting undergraduate and graduate students from other colleges and universities are welcome to use the sample preparation and MDXRF laboratory facilities. Although the lab does impose modest charges to cover sample preparation and analysis expenses, costs are considerably lower than those charged by commercial analytical laboratories.

In addition to analysis of naturally occurring earth materials (e.g. minerals, rocks, soils), the lab especially welcomes academic users interested in application of X-ray fluorescence technology to problems in cultural geography, archeology, and anthropology. Students in the social sciences are encouraged to use the laboratory to explore ways in which MDXRF analysis can be used to solve research problems within their own academic fields of interest.

Laboratory Facilities

Oxford Instruments MDX 1080+ XRF Spectrometer
Oxford Instruments MDX 1080+ XRF Spectrometer
     XRF Sample Preparation Lab
XRF Sample Preparation Lab
Claisse XRF Sample Fusion System  
Claisse XRF Sample Fusion System
  XRF Sample Preparation Lab
XRF Sample Preparation Lab

Oxford Instruments MDX 1080+ Specifications

Analysis Method: Multi-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence
Element Range: Alumina to Uranium
Concentration Range: ppm to 100%
Sample Form: Solids, Liquids, Powders, Glasses, Granules
X-Ray Detection:  
Fixed Channels: Na, Mg, P, Ba, Rb, Y, Nb, K, Ca (Quantitative Analysis)
Flexi-Channel: Al to U (Quantitative and Semi-Quantitative Analysis)
X-Ray Excitation: Medium Power 200W, 40/50 kV End Window Rh X-Ray Tube
Sample Preparation: Pulverizing, Pelletizing, Fusion

For additional information regarding MTSU MDXRF laboratory capabilities and analytical costs, please contact Dr. Warner Cribb.

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Faculty Spotlight

 Mt. Hood

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Dr. Warner Cribb’s research focuses on the geologic history of the solid Earth, with particular emphasis on the growth of continental crust in volcanic mountain belts. Most of Dr. Cribb’s students research the formation and chemical evolution of magmas that form volcanoes in the Cascade Range of Oregon and Washington. Their research goal is to improve the understanding of how molten rock beneath volcanoes forms, and how the chemical and physical properties of the molten rock change as it travels through Earth’s crust towards the surface.

Student research involves conducting fieldwork in the spectacular Cascade Range to collect rock samples at volcanoes, and then conducting geochemical and mineralogical analyses of the samples in labs at MTSU. Dr. Cribb’s students learn useful skills through their research, such as how to conduct geologic sample collection, how to geochemically analyze rock and mineral samples, and how to interpret and model geochemical data.

Most of Dr. Cribb’s students present their research results at national scientific conferences. Many of his students have been awarded full graduate assistantships and fellowships to attend some of the best geology graduate research programs in the country, such as at Notre Dame University, Vanderbilt University, Baylor University, The University of Oklahoma, and the University of Utah. After earning their M.S. or Ph.D. degrees, these students find employment in a range of geoscience employment sectors, such as mining, oil and gas exploration, advanced materials research, environmental consulting, and education.