Cathodoluminescence Microscopy Laboratory


Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Twarda 51/55 St., 00-818 Warsaw
tel. +48 22 697 8879; e-mail:
Head: Jarosław Stolarski

templates/nanofun/photo/Laboratoria/NanoFun_Twarda_029.jpgThe Laboratory of Cathodoluminescence Microscopy in the Institute of Paleobiology is equipped with state-of-the-art Lumic HC5-LM cathodolumienscence microscope ( The microscope is based on a modified OLYM PUS light microscope with revolving nosepiece with 5x ,10x, 20x objectives, monocular and trinocular observation tubes and is equipped with conical, stainless steel vacuum chamber with lead glass observation window, that replaces normal microscope stage. The sample holder is located inside the vacuum chamber and its position can be adjusted with the brass knurls at the backside of the chamber. A stainless steel electron gun is attached to base of the distributor and is supplied by a high performance HV power supply. The vacuum (of about < 10-5 mbar) is provided by a high-vacuum turbomolecular pumping system. The HC5-LM is integrated with high efficiency spectroscopic system UV-VIS Princeton Instruments (Acton Series SP-2356), and air-cooled, color CCD camera KAPPA DX 40-285 CL. A unique feature of the Lumic CL microscope is hot cathode, which is an electrically heated tungsten filament. The main advantage of using hot cathode is that all electric parameters, such as acceleration voltage and beam current, which are decisive for the intensity of the emitted luminescence can be precisely controlled. The hot cathode electron gun is located at the bottom of the vacuum chamber thus the samples have to be mounted with their upper sides down to the observation window. The samples have to be prepared as very thin (less than 30 μm thick) petrographic sections that are not covered with cover slips. To prevent charging of the sample, the surface of the sample must be coated with a thin, few nanometer thick conductive layer of carbon.

templates/nanofun/photo/Laboratoria/IPPAN_CLmicroscope.jpgCathodoluminescence is an optical and electromagnetic phenomenon in which electrons that bombard the material cause the emission of photons which may have wavelengths in the visible spectrum. The luminescence is dependent on the material characteristics such as chemistry (especially presence of various trace and rare earth elements that act as luminescence activators), crystal structure, lattice defects and others. For example, the main activators in calcium carbonate biominerals or rocks is manganese which requires relatively low beam current energies to emit visible intensities of luminescence. In contrast, to visualize quartz luminescence caused by lattice defects and/or trace elements activators, high beam currents are necessary. Hence, Lumic HC5-LM hot cathode microscope which enables fine tuning of beam current is ideal instrument to study cathodolumienscence of variety of materials. In some materials, like calcium carbonate minerals, luminescence can result from concentration of only a few parts per million of lumienscence activators (e.g., Mn2+). For this reason cathodolumienscence microscope is ideal tool to study formation of mineral structures that during growth were absorbing trace or rare earth elements from solutions characterized by different concentrations of these elements. Biominerals formed by organisms during skeleton growth or structures formed by secondary, diagenetic processes are typical examples of such minerals exhibiting highly variable cathodoluminescence response.

The current research in the Laboratory is focused on formation and diagenesis of biominerals that are source and inspiration for novel functional materials such as biocompatible polymer–inorganic nanocomposites.


Publications based on the research performed in this NanoFun Laboratory

  1. Katarzyna Frankowiak, Xingchen T. Wang, Daniel M. Sigman, Anne M. Gothmann, Marcelo V. Kitahara, Maciej Mazur, Anders Meibom and Jarosław Stolarski, "Photosymbiosis and the expansion of shallow-water corals", Sciences Advances, 2016, link
  2. Przemysław Gorzelak, Tomasz Krzykawski, Jarosław Stolarski, "Diagenesis of echinoderm skeletons: Constraints on paleoseawater Mg/Ca reconstructions", Global and Planetary Change, 2016 link
  3. Anna Maria Addamo, Agostina Vertino, Jaroslaw Stolarski, Ricardo García-Jiménez, Marco Taviani, and Annie Machordom, "Merging scleractinian genera: the overwhelming genetic similarity between solitary Desmophyllum and colonial Lophelia" , BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2016 link
  4. Katarzyna Frankowiak, Sławomir Kret, Maciej Mazur, Anders Meibom, Marcelo V. Kitahara, Jarosław Stolarski, "Fine-Scale Skeletal Banding Can Distinguish Symbiotic from Asymbiotic Species among Modern and Fossil Scleractinian Corals", PLOS ONE, 2016, link
  5. Anne M. Gothmann, Jarosław Stolarski, Jess F. Adkins, Blair Schoene, Kate J. Dennis, Daniel P. Schrag, Maciej Mazur, Michael L. Bender, Fossil corals as an archive of secular variations in seawater chemistry since the Mesozoic, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 160 (2015) 188–208, link
  6. Gorzelak P. & Zamora S. Stereom microstructures of Cambrian echinoderms revealed by cathodoluminescence (CL). Palaeontologia Electronica. 2013; 16 (3): 32A, 1-17. link
  7. Frankowiak K., Mazur M., Gothmann A., Stolarski J. Diagenetic alteration of the Triassic coral from aragonite-Konservat-Lagersätte in Alakir Çay, Turkey: Implications for geochemical measurements. Palaios. 2013; 28:333-342. link
  8. Roberto Arrigoni, Yuko F. Kitano, Jaroslaw Stolarski, Bert W. Hoeksema, Hironobu Fukami,Fabrizio Stefani, Paolo Galli, Simone Montano, Elisa Castoldi and Francesca Benzoni, A phylogeny reconstruction of the Dendrophylliidae (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) based on molecular and micromorphological criteria, and its ecological implications, Zoologica Scripta Volume 43, Issue 6, pages 661–688, November 2014. (link)
  9. Janiszewska, K., Jaroszewicz, J., Stolarski, J. Skeletal ontogeny in basal scleractinian micrabaciid corals. Journal of Morphology 2013; 274(3):243-257. link