The UW-Madison Electron Microprobe Lab was set up in 1966 by Gene Cameron with a 3-spectrometer ARL-EMX.
The original instrument operated until 1981 when it was replaced by a 9-spectrometer ARL-SEMQ.
In August of 1993, a state-of-the-art Cameca SX50/51 (SN 485) Microprobe was delivered, with installation of this new generation microprobe continuing into 1994. The SX51 had the same column and electronics as the SXS50, however a key difference was the sub-micron stage, which would become the SX100 (and SX5) stage. Jean-Michel Peneau was the engineer in charge.
In November 1994, Dr. Eugene Cameron “cut the ribbon” on the new SX51 at a ceremony attended by the UW-Geology and Geophysics Alumni Committee.
In November 2014, a Cameca SXFive field emission (SN 944) Electron Microprobe was delivered. The FE source provides improved targeting ability (now very small inclusions can be avoided) for “regular” 15 kV operation, but an important additional feature now being developed is low kV (e.g., 7 kV) operation where the X-ray generation volume is reduced and sub-micron analytical resolution is possible (see discussion of low voltage EPMA). The SXFiveFE operates with both Cameca PeakSight software and Probe for EPMA/Probe Image software. There is a ThermoScientific UltraDry EDS detector running Pathfinder.
The lab operates as a multi-user facility, with usage divided roughly equally between geologists and material scientists and engineers. The lab was managed from 1966 to 1992 by Dr. Everett Glover (1917-2017), from 1992 to 2020 by Dr. John Fournelle, and since 2020 by Dr. Will Nachlas.