Thin sections

An example of Olivine

The BGS thin sectioning laboratories enjoy an international reputation for the excellence of the products it supplies to both internal and external clients. The laboratories are housed in a well-equipped, state of the art facility and are operated by staff with many years experience in all aspects of thin section production.

In addition to routine sample processing, the service specialises in producing thin sections from technically difficult materials. Environmentally sensitive and/or hazardous samples can also be processed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.


Logitech lapping and polishing station
Logitech lapping and polishing station

A wide range of thin section types is offered that includes:

  • standard cover-slipped thin sections for use in transmitted light microscopy (These may also be stained for potassium-feldspar and/or dual carbonates, if required).
  • polished thin sections for use, for example, in scanning electron microscope and electron microprobe-based investigations
  • blue resin vacuum impregnated thin sections that reveal porosity/permeability and may be used in image analysis systems
  • fluid inclusion wafers
  • polished wafers for use in laser ablation and micro-drilling techniques loose grain thin sections (cover-slipped or polished)
  • large area soil thin sections that retain the original micromorphology of water saturated sediments
  • transmission electron microscope wafers


Impregnated and polished soil thin sections showing delicate sedimentary structures Impregnated and polished soil thin sections showing delicate sedimentary structures

As well as serving the needs of the BGS and NERC Science program, the thin section laboratories produce products for external clients from a wide range of industrial and educational establishments including:

  • hydrocarbon exploration companies
  • universities and other higher education establishments – especially those researching and teaching earth science subjects and archaeology
  • mineral exploration and extraction industries
  • building stone/heritage conservationists
  • forensic science consultancies
  • civil engineering industry (for brick, stone, concrete and aggregate thin sections)

The thin section laboratories produce products for an international client base who expect and receive only the finest quality thin sections. All thin section products are subject to a rigorous quality control procedure.


Please contact John Fletcher for further information