Workshop – Applications and Advances of Cathodoluminescence Microscopy and Spectroscopy in Mineralogy and Geosciences

This workshop will outline the basic physical principles that cause select minerals to luminesce, the cathodoluminescence (CL) instrumentation available to researchers, the applications to minerals and geoscience research, and advances in CL technology. More specifically, it is proposed that the workshop consists of presentations encompassing the following general topics:

  1. Sample preparation and the process by which minerals luminesce, as a result of the interaction with a light or an electron beam; and how activator elements present in trace quantities or lattice defects enable minerals to luminesce.
  2. Comparison of electron beam CL and light microscope CL techniques and instrumentation, including how CL in electron beam instruments can be integrated with other emitted signals such as X-rays, as well as backscattered and secondary electron signals.
  3. How advances in electron microscopy impacted CL research using filament versus ionized gas to excite atoms that are responsible for CL emission.
  4. Integration of CL imaging with other techniques such as LA-ICP-MS, PIXE, ion microprobe and micro-Raman. Presentations should revolve around how combining these techniques can enhance our understanding of mineral genesis.
  5. The integration of optical and electron microscopy and how the two techniques can be integrated to enhance the information obtained from cathodoluminescence.
  6. Applications of CL in mineralogy and crystallography. Presentations should include discussions on which minerals luminesce, why the luminescence and what does CL tell us about the genesis of minerals.
  7. Discussions on the future of CL work and how we can use advances in electron microscopy, such as variable pressure electron microscopy, to further advance CL research.

This Workshop is submitted on behalf of the International Union of Crystallography’s Commission on Inorganic and Mineral Structures.


Workshop convenor

Patrick H.J. Mercier (Canada)
National Research Council Canada (NRC)


About the workshop convenor

Dave is a senior mineral scientist at the National Research Council Canada (NRC). He worked for 11 years at Western University, in the Earth Sciences Department, Surface Science Western and AMTEL (Advanced Mineral Technology Laboratory), specializing in the application of Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), as well as, energy and wavelength dispersive X-ray (WDX/EDX) analysis to minerals and materials analysis. He has since worked as a mineral scientist in the Mining and Mineral Sciences Laboratory (MMSL) at the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) working on deportment studies on a wide variety of ore deposits.

Dave has been at NRC for 14 years using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and SEM/EDX to characterize a wide variety of minerals and industrial materials.

Dave has M.Sc. in Geology from Carleton University.



David Kingston (Canada)