Cathodoluminescence (CL) microscopy

Group Leader

apl. Prof. Dr. Uwe Altenberger

+49 331 977 5806
+49 331 977 5700
Arbeitsgruppenbild Allgemeine Geologie


Cathodoluminescence microscopy is a technique to visualise in minerals and materials heterogeneities and internal structures that are invisible using pure optical methods (reflected and transmitted light microscopy).

An electron source (cathode ray tube) generates an electron beam that is directed onto the solid-state sample (polished thin section) and excites it. Subsequent transition from excited to normal state causes the emission of light (luminescence) that can be observed in true colour and intensity using a polarising microscope. Internal structures of minerals become visible and are indicative of growth zoning, allowing processes such as mineral growth, resolution and alteration to be reconstructed.


Leica DMRX polarising microscope, equipped with:

  • Citl cold-cathode electron source
  • Leica DFC300 FX digital colour camera for fluorescent applications, very high sensitivity