Small Research Facility, John Murray Laboratories, Kings Buildings. This laboratory specialises in the production of thin sections, polished sections and blocks and similar products from rock, mineral, bone and other materials. Ordinary thin sections are examined using polarising petrographic microscopes to investigate the optical properties of the minerals in the rock, helping to reveal the nature, origin and evolution of the parent material.
Normally only ordinary thin sections are used for teaching in Earth Science degree programmes, though polished sections and blocks may be required for some courses. Polished thin sections are primarily used for research activities and student dissertation projects, and are required for analysis of materials using the Ion Probe NERC Facility and the ION, CEP and SEM SRF facilities.