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Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences
Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences


The particularity of the platform lies both in the complementarity of the equipment available and in its exceptional performance in terms of spatial resolution. All types of materials can be imaged in 2 and 3 dimensions with a spatial resolution ranging from several hundred micrometres to about ten nanometres.

The MatriX instrumental park consists of an X-ray diffractometer, several X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, two high spatial resolution X-ray tomographs (micro and nano X-ray tomographs) acquired in the framework of theEquipeX NANO-IDIt also has a sample preparation laboratory and computer equipment for data processing and image analysis.

X-ray Diffractometer

X-ray Diffractometer (X'Pert Pro MPD, Panalytical) to perform powder analysis (XRD) and spatially resolved micro-analysis using a 100 µm diameter capillary (micro-XRD).

Latest generation X-ray analytical microscope

Device (AttoMap-310, Sigray) offering the highest spatial resolution available in the laboratory, in the order of a few micrometres (3-5 µm). With sensitivities unmatched in the laboratory (in the ppm range), this spectrometer enables rapid chemical mapping of the distribution of trace elements. In addition, thanks to a low-energy detector and a vacuum chamber, it is capable of imaging and quantifying (<1%) light elements down to carbon.

X-ray analytical microscope

Device (XGT-7000, Horiba) coupling micro X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) with X-ray microscopy to perform chemical micro-analysis and 2D chemical imaging (hyperspectral mapping) with a spatial resolution of 10 and 100 µm.

Portable XRF machine

Portable device (X-200, SciAps) to carry out qualitative and quantitative elemental analyses on site and/or on large samples. 


Prototype developed in collaboration with the team FAME of the ESRF. 

The prototype of a wavelength-dispersive microfluorescence X-ray spectrometer (HERMES for  High Energy Resolution Microscope for Environmental Sciences) allows X-ray fluorescence analyses with a very high energy resolution, of the order of 1-10 eV. Its objective is to improve the sensitivity to light and trace elements and to access in-situ the oxidation states of certain metals.

The prototype of a total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectrometer aims to perform rapid and quantitative elemental analysis on powders. The advantages of such a set-up compared to conventional XRF are multiple: increased sensitivity and improved quantification of elements. 

RX micro-tomograph

Device (MicroXCT-400, Zeiss) to perform 3D multiscale imaging in X-ray absorption contrast, with a spatial resolution varying between 0.7 µm and 65 µm (micro-CT).

Live lab: visit our equipment! 

Nano X-ray tomograph

Device (UltraXRM-L200, Zeiss) unique in France, for 3D imaging at very high spatial resolution (150 and 50 nm) in absorption contrast and phase contrast (nano-CT).

Sample preparation laboratory

Equipped laboratory:

  • an optical stereo microscope for handling and fixing small samples (Leica M80)
  • a Zeiss microscope adapted to the deposition of markers (micrometric gold beads). 
  • of a supercritical drying apparatus, bypassing the supercritical point of CO2 (EM CPD 3000, Leica Microsystems).
  • a precision micro-saw (IsoMET 4000, Buehler) for the production of thin sections (minimum thickness of 200 µm)
  • a micro-machining device (MINITECH CNC Mini-Mill/GX)
  • a 3D printer (RAISE 3D PRO2) for the design of specific sample holders
  • equipment for sample inclusion and polishing
  • small equipment dedicated to the preparation of samples for XRD analysis (grinding, phase separation, extractions, chemical treatments).

Image analysis

A room for processing data from the Matrix platform instruments has been specially fitted out. It offers access to 3 workstations equipped with:

  • Licences AVIZO and OSR Dragonfly for 3D image processing and analysis
  • Free software (ImageJ, iMorph, PyMCA) for 2D and 3D image analysis
  • Mineralogical database for interpretation of X-ray diffractograms.

The storage capacity of the hard disks and a storage server (30 TB dedicated to X-ray tomography) allow data to be kept for at least one year.