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X-ray Service: Rocks and Minerals

X-ray, Rocks, Minerals
Research Area: 
Physical Sciences
Engineering & Technology

University of the basque country UPV/EHU
Joxe Mari Korta Building, Gipuzkoa Campus

Avda. Tolosa, 72 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián (Gipuzkoa)
Science and Technology faculty
CD3 Building
B Sarriena, s/n, 48940 Leioa (Bizkaia)


Dr. Francisco Javier Sangüesa
- Phone: 94 601 3574
- e-mail: franciscojavier.sanguesa@ehu.es

Available for external users?: 
Access protocol: 

Only two types of user may access the facilities offered by the Service:
Technical Service Personnel: carry out both routine experiments and those of greater complexity. Help to draft reports.
Authorised users. Will be able to carry out special experiments. Efectuar experimentos especiales.
The X-ray Service may used by researchers from University Colleges, Technology Centres and Companies, etc. Routine and special experiments can be carried out, in addition to analyses of results. The Service Personnel can in any event advise you about the most suitable experiments and conditions for each problem. Requests for work must be addressed to the Service Personnel.
For further information about legislation, radio protection and licences, etc., please visit the website of the Nuclear Security Council (http://www.csn.es)
General rules
Access to the unit of X-rays: Molecules and Materials involves meeting the requirements set forth in the Protocol for access to SGIker and the services it provides.


he General X-ray Service of the University of the Basque Country/EHU attempts to provide support for basic and applied research in, among others, the different areas of knowledge of Geological Science, Chemistry, Materials Science, Aeronautics, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Archaeology, Palaeontology, Anthropology and Environmental Science, in addition to helping to provide a service in the fields of Construction, Mining Prospecting and Civil Engineering. Researchers may also access the service from the Basque Network of Science and Technology, and it is available to other researchers outside the UPV/EHU, and other public and private institutions - both national and international.

Analysis of Rocks and Minerals Unit: carries out the mineralogical and geochemical analysis of rocks, minerals, soils, industrial and building materials, and remains of archaeological and palaeontological interest, etc. It has at its disposal equipment for the preparation of samples and the analysis of materials via petrographic studies, fluorescence and/or x-ray diffraction, and analysis of clay fraction, etc.


- Measuring diffractograms under optimum conditions for the purposes requested.
- Identifying minerals or other crystalline phases, estimating the crystal size using diffractograms, specific clay mineralogical analysis by means of orientated aggregate DRX.
- Chemical analysis of majority elements and trace element in geological and similar samples, including calcination loss.
- Scientific advisory service in order to combine the results obtained in this Service with those from other complementary analytical techniques.
- Petrographic studies of thin sections of rock samples for external advisory services.
- Redirection and issuing result reports.
- Training by means of specific services in conjunction with the Molecules and Materials Unit. Educational support for various degrees and Master's degrees.

Other relevant information: 

This unit has at its disposal the equipment necessary to suitably prepare samples for their subsequent analysis using available techniques. The analytical techniques basically include mineralogical analysis using x-ray diffraction (XRD), the chemical analysis of geological materials or similar via x-ray fluorescence (XRF), the specific chemical analysis of minerals using electronic microprobe and the petrographic characterization of rocks.

Below are listed some of the applications of the studies that are carried out:
- Identification of minerals and other crystalline phases in samples of rock, soil, palaeontological and archaeological remains (pottery, bones, teeth, etc.), and industrial and building materials (dry goods, ornamental rocks, mortars, bricks, fireproof materials, etc.), including determining the presence of asbestos.
- Mineralogical and lithogeochemical studies for application in mining: prospecting of mineral deposits, mineralogical characterization of minerals from clay and industrial rocks, characterization of ore, prior studies for the recovery of ponds and slag heaps, etc.
- Separation of fine fractions and determining of clay mineralogy in sedimentary and hydrothermal rocks, soils, and geotechnical probes, etc.
- Petrographic studies of dry goods and natural stone, in accordance with UNE standards.
The X-ray Service also offers advice for obtaining better performance in the measures to be taken, in addition to optimizing experiments. In the event of specific problems that are unable to be solved using available resources, assistance will be provided in filing the requests for proposals for measures in large supranational installations (sources of synchroton radiation and/or neutron beams).


Diffractometer for monocrystals

Two-circle diffractometer equipped with imaging plate detector of 340 mm in diameter and great signal/noise ratio. The possibility of rotating the complete goniometer enables very high Bragg angles to be accessed (up to 137º in 2Theta). Its geometry enables devices to be adapted in order to vary the environmental conditions of the measurements.

Fluorescence spectrometer

Microfluorescence spectrometer for specific qualitative analysis of hand sample (from sulphur). Does not require preparation of the sample and is recoverable. Equipped with a solid state detector. The minimum size of the surface to be analysed is 0.2 x 0.62 mm.

Additional installations

HERZOG HSM100 Widia disc oscillating mill.
HERZOG HTP 40 mechanical press.
PERL'X3 bead machine.
Emitex metallyzer (carbon).
Struers Planopol-V and DP10 polishers.
Kubota KS-800 and 8410 centrifuges
Olympus SZX 16 magnifying glass.
Olympus KL1500 LCD cold light source.
Oxford Cryostream low temperature system.

Additional installations

HERZOG HSM100 Widia disc oscillating mill.
HERZOG HTP 40 mechanical press.
PERL'X3 bead machine.
Emitex metallyzer (carbon).
Struers Planopol-V and DP10 polishers.
Kubota KS-800 and 8410 centrifuges
Olympus SZX 16 magnifying glass.
Olympus KL1500 LCD cold light source.
Oxford Cryostream low temperature system.

Computer resources

- Crystallographic data bases under licence: JCPDS (crystallographic data obtained from polycrystalline samples), ICSD and CSD (structural information about inorganic and organic composites).
- Crystallographic programmes: All those required for the control, measurement, reduction and treatment of data, and analysis of results.