The facilities for the production and analysis of thin sections of unconsolidated sediments and soils within the Centre for Micromorphology are housed within dedicated, purpose-built laboratories located at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Queen Mary University of London.
Production facilities for thin section micromorphology are housed at the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London. The laboratory was completely refurbished in 2004 to provide high precision sample grinding and polishing facilities. In an adjacent analytical laboratory, there are Olympus optical microscopes with the facility for digital image capture and a Petroscope projection macroscope. Microscopes for a range of palaeo-environmental analyses are also housed in this laboratory, and there is access to a cross-disciplinary electron microscopy unit.
Specialist analytical facilities for the CfM are mainly located at Queen Mary, University of London, in a dedicated facility opened in 2003, and expanded in 2010. The suite of three microscope rooms host nine purpose-designed Leica zoom optical microscopes, each equipped with firewire digital image capture and Leica Image Manager software, a dedicated high resolution slide scanner, three Petroscope projection macroscopes, a JEOL Neoscope bench-top scanning electron microscope (with tilt/rotate and peltier cooling stages), a Nikon Metrology HM X 225 tomograph system and a Metripol birefringence imaging system. In addition, there are two high power PC workstations for the visualisation and analysis of 3D data using Drishti and VolumeGraphics. A fourth additional microscope suite within the centre hosts Zeiss and Leica microscopes for low and high magnification palaeo-environmental analysis. Close collaboration with the NanoVision Centre provides further specialist microscopy facilities, in particular e-SEM and TEM facilities.
The Centre for Micromorphology hosts an expanding collection of over 3000 prepared thin sections, and over 7000 impregnated sediment blocks covering almost all environmental contexts found on Earth (see van der Meer, J.J.M. & Menzies, J. 2011: Sedimentary Geology 238, 213-232 for examples), with particular emphasis on glacial, lacustrine and soil-loess sequences. This archive provides a unique reference collection, and much of the collection is fully catalogued.