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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Izalco Volcano






The Jarosewich microbeam reference materials.


Largely because of the work of Eugene Jarosewich, reference samples for microbeam analysis have been characterized and distributed worldwide. As of 2002, 750 requests totaling about 11,000 samples have been made. Although not technically standards, these reference materials are referred to as the Smithsonian Microbeam Standards (SMS). A short history of the SMS by Gene (Jarosewich 2002) and other publications relating to these materials can be found at the links and reference below.

Availability and standard materials requests.

The Smithsonian Microbeam Standards are available free of charge. The Smithsonian Institution Department of Mineral Sciences should be acknowledged in any publication in which the standard materials have been used. Refer to the materials in publications by the letters NMNH or USNM (as listed) followed by the catalog number (example: NMNH 137041). Because there is a limited quantity of each standard, please request only materials required for your study. Some materials are in short supply and will become unavailable in the future.

To request reference materials, fill out the SMS Availability and Request Form and e-mail the completed form to Tim Rose. If you have additional questions, contact Tim Rose or Leslie Hale of the Department of Mineral Sciences. You will be required to sign, date and return the indicated copy of the shipping invoice to the Smithsonian Institution acknowledging receipt of the materials.


Jarosewich (2002) Smithsonian Microbeam Standards [Full Text]

Jarosewich et al. publications on the SMS: [Full Text]

Jarosewich et al.(1980) Reference Samples for Electron Microprobe Analysis

Jarosewich and McIntyre (1983) Carbonate Reference Samples for Electron Microprobe and Scanning Electron Microscope Analysis

Jarosewich and White (1987) Strontianite Reference Sample for Electron Microprobe and SEM Analyses

Jarosewich et al. (1987) Chromium Augite- A New Microprobe Reference Sample

Jarosewich and Boatner (1991) Rare-Earth Element Reference Samples for Electron Microprobe Analysis

Carpenter et al., (2002) Characterization of Corning EPMA Standard Glasses 95IRV, 95IRW, and 95IRX [Full Text]

Vicenzi et al. (2002) Microbeam Characterization of Corning Archeological Reference Glasses: A New Addition to the Smithsonian Microbeam Standard Collection [Full Text]

Donovan et al. (2002) Contamination in the Rare-Earth Element Orthophosphate Reference Samples [Full Text]

Donovan et al. (2003) A re-examination of the rare-earth-element orthophosphate standards in use for electron-microprobe analysis. Canadian Mineralogist Vol.41, pp. 221-232.

Zircon, NMNH 117288. [Full Text]

Impurities in the Smithsonian Microbeam Standards

The following table lists impurities observed in reference samples from the Smithsonian Microbeam Standards (SMS). The impurities as they were referred to by Jarosewich et al. (1980), are grains of other minerals and inclusions in individual grains of the original minerals or glasses chosen to become SMS. Additions to this will be made as they are identified. Please contact Tim Rose for further information or of additional impurities so that we may add them to the list.

SMS impurities abundance
augite (NMNH 1221420) grains with lower Na, Al and more Fe,Mg, Ca rare
diopside (NMNH 117733) calcite/barite inclusions
fayalite (NMNH 85276) amphibole (grunerite?) 10% of grains, some intergrown
glass VG-2 (NMNH 111240) olivine: tiny crystals
plagioclase: large crystal
on one grain
glass A-99 (NMNH 113498) plagioclase: tiny
clinopyroxene: tiny
Glass VG-568 (NMNH 72854) Fe oxide: 5 micron crystals common
hornblende (NMNH 143965) FeTi oxide: tiny crystals in inclusions
FeTi oxide: larger individual crystals
hypersthene (NMNH 746) chromite veins and included crystals common
ilmenite (NMNH 96189) NbFeTi oxide
Nb and Zn phases
abundant tiny
magnetite (NMNH 114887) ilmenite rare
microcline (NMNH 143966) albite: included crystals rare
omphacite (NMNH 110607) different CaNaMgAl silicate enclosed in jadeite  

Backscatter Electron Image


Backscattered electron image of grains of the SMS fayalite reference material. About ten per cent of the grains are a darker gray color. Preliminary data suggest the impurity is an amphibole, possibly grunerite, a mineral found associated with the fayalite from Rockport, Massachusetts chosen to become the reference material.

Backscatter Electron Image




Backscattered electron image of multiphase grain in the SMS fayalite reference sample.

Backscatter Electron Image



Backscattered electron image of multiphase inclusion in ilmenite. The inclusion consists of: gray: iron oxide; white: a niobium-bearing oxide phase and black: a zinc-aluminum oxide phase.

Cathodoluminescence of Smithsonian Microbeam Standards

Cathodoluminescence (CL) has been observed in Smithsonian Microbeam Standards (SMS) listed in the table below. These data were collected on a NovaNanoSEM 600 with a Gatan MonoCL/Xiclone system at room temperature. Operating conditions were 15kV and typically about 2 namps. Further study of the CL of these materials is underway. The spectra from these materials will be made available in the future.

SMS peak positions
anorthite (NMNH 137041) 425, 550, 710, 855
anorthoclase (NMNH 133868) 360, 610, 860
apatite (NMNH 104021) 370, 410, 450, 480, 580, 610, 650
benitoite (NMNH 86539) 420
calcite (NMNH 136321) 370, 615
corundum (NMNH 657S) 330, 575, 728
plagioclase (NMNH 115900) 460
quartz (NMNH R17701) 650
scapolite (NMNH R6600-1) 360, 610, 860
strontianite (NMNH R10065) 320, 380, 520, 550, 600, 640, 850

CL Image
Panchromatic CL image of benitoite.

CL Spectrum
Serial spectrum of CL of strontianite.