Instrumentation and services

Housed in the basement of the Department of Geological Sciences (Room 1, Geology Building), MizzoµX is part of the suite of 11 University of Missouri Core Facilities supported by the Office of Research and Economic Development. MizzoµX is directed by Dr. Schiffbauer, with Dr. Selly serving as a full-time research scientist and facility manager. We specialize in the analysis of geological materials, but can accommodate a wide range of sample types with our instrumentation. 

This service laboratory is a Zeiss microscopy facility with two primary instruments available to researchers.

Zeiss Sigma 500 VP scanning electron microscope

Zeiss Sigma 500 VP scanning electron microscope

Our customized Zeiss Sigma 500 VP scanning electron microscope (SEM) is built on a large chamber platform and equipped with the Gemini field-emission column with extended voltage available, yielding excellent count rates for spectrometry and spatial resolution to ~0.7 nm. The chamber is a dry variable pressure system, using a nitrogen gas atmosphere for low-vacuum analyses, and is equipped with a cascade current secondary electron detector for outstanding low-vacuum imaging quality.

We additionally have a standard Everhart-Thornley detector, a high-definition 5-segment backscatter detector, and a dual in-lens detector, for a full range of imaging capabilities.

For compositional analyses, our Sigma houses dual, co-planar (diametrically opposite), Bruker energy dispersive X-ray spectrometers and an integrated Bruker microspot X-ray fluorescence unit (µXRF).

Finally, our system is also equipped with the ATLAS control module and a 5-axis Cartesian stage to allow for large sample automated imaging.

For additional electron microscopy available on MU’s Columbia campus, please also visit the Electron Microscopy Core website.

Zeiss Xradia 510 Versa 3D x-ray microscope

Zeiss Xradia 510 Versa 3D X-ray microscope

Our Zeiss Xradia 510 Versa 3D X-ray microscope (XRM or µCT) is the only available µCT on MU’s Columbia campus. The Xradia 510 Versa µCT is the industry’s premier in-situ solution for non-destructive 3D imaging, allowing for unique characterization of the microstructure of materials for a diverse array of applications and sample types. The Xradia 510 Versa can achieve between 0.7–55 μm true spatial resolution with minimum achievable voxel size below 70 nm. This µCT has increased versatility for soft or low-Z materials with advanced absorption contrast along with innovative phase contrast to overcome the limitations of traditional computed tomography.

Available at additional cost, we can provide other sample preparation services, including:

  • metal deposition sputter coating with our Cressington 108auto/SE sputter coater equipped with a MTM-10 thickness monitor;
  • sample cutting, polishing, and epoxy embedding with our fully equipped preparation laboratory; and
  • a dual GPU Dell Precision workstation for 3D rendering and segmentation with ThermoFisher’s Avizo software.

We are happy to discuss any analytical needs you may have. Feel free to contact us through our Service Request form, or you may directly email Please take note of our protocols for any sample submission.

National Science Foundation logo

The MizzoµX facility was made possible by grant support from the National Science Foundation Division of Earth Sciences Instrumentation and Facilities (grant# 1636643 to Dr. James D. Schiffbauer); the MU Office of Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development; the MU System Research Board, and several MU units/departments.


For all new projects/service requests, we appreciate the opportunity to meet with you — whether in person, by phone, or by Google Hangouts/Skype — to discuss your needs, limitations, timelines, and to find the best possible options for your available budget. 

Upon request, we can provide an informal estimate following the above discussion of your research needs. Please be aware, however, that these are only estimates — and without getting your samples in either of these scopes, the total work involved may be different than estimated. 

Consultation is always free! 

Our in-house and external academic rates are listed below. We also offer expedited services for in-house and academic researchers for slightly higher rate, as well as non-academic rates. Please inquire through our service request form.


Sample Preparation Fees

Service In-house (MU System) External academic
General sample mounting or sputter coating (SEM or µCT) $18/hr $20/hr
Embedding/cutting/polishing Increments of $85, depending on scope of work Increments of $94, depending on scope of work
Storage/shipping MU System mail, USPS flat-rate or FedEx flat-rate (customer preference); extended storage will be charged $12/business week USPS flat-rate or FedEx flat-rate (customer preference); extended storage will be charged $15/business week


Scanning Electron Microscopy

Service In-house (MU System) External academic
SEM set-up $36/hr $53/hr
SEM imaging $85/hr $154/hr
ATLAS $66/hr $106/hr
EDS or µXRF $19/hr + SEM imaging rate $35/hr + SEM imaging rate
Data reporting $15/project $25/project


X-ray Microscopy

Service In-house (MU System) External academic
µCT set-up/dummy scan $75/hr $100/hr
µCT scanning $121/hr $125/hr
Data processing $40/hr $50/hr
Data reporting $15/project $25/project