Argonne Experts Bring Advanced Methods to Graduate Mineralogy Class

Posted on 08.23.2015
Photo of students and Argonne Staff.

Advanced X-ray spectroscopy techniques have revolutionized studies of minerals, engineering materials, and chemical reactions. Geology 531, "Structural Mineralogy" was taught in Fall 2011 by Drs. Ercan Alp and Przemek Dera from Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), both of whom are recently-appointed Adjunct Professors in the Department of Geology. Alp and Dera, are world-renowned experts in synchrotron x-ray spectroscopy, which uses the high-energy X-rays from third-generation synchrotron facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source at ANL (see The intense X-rays generated at such state-of-the-art facilities are focused to probe tiny volumes of minerals and other materials, as they are manipulated in high pressure diamond cells, mult si-anvil cells, and flow-through reaction chambers. A variety of sophisticated spectroscopic analyses examine the scattered or transmitted x-rays to reveal the structure, bonding, electronic and magnetic state, and physical properties of the materials. Alp and Dera collaborate on research with Prof. Jay Bass, who proposed and coordinated the course.

The course attracted students from Geology, Materials Sciences, and Chemistry because of its broad appeal. It is slated to be offered again in fall, 2012.