Our Services

At Thin Section Lab we pride ourselves in our ability to produce large numbers of high-quality sections in short turnaround times. Our 3-day “hot-shot” service is designed for urgent sample requests. For further information, to request a quote or simply to discover our complete range of services, please feel free to contact Thin Section Lab

Thin section preparation


Thin Section Lab produces high-quality polished thin sections (for petrographic studies) and thick sections (for fluid inclusion studies) for the industrial and academic sectors. Sections can be prepared from rock samples, cores, unconsolidated material (gravels, sands) or cuttings.
The standard section size is 30 × 45 mm, with other sizes available on request. Thin sections can be covered if required. Thin Section Lab possesses the most advanced equipment currently available for thin section preparation. The procedures employed for section preparation depend on the nature of the sample and the objectives and requirements of the customer.
Thin Section Lab prides itself in its ability to produce large numbers of sections in fast turnaround times.
Our “hot-shot” service is available for the preparation and delivery of sections in under 3 days


Sample preparation


Thin Section Lab is equipped with the complete range of instruments and tools required for the preparation of geological samples. The slabbing machine enables large rock samples and cores to be cut to smaller sizes, and the saw is specifically designed to obtain optimum cuts, even on fractured, altered or poorly consolidated samples. Trim saws allow high-precision sample cutting and trimming for the production of rock billets. Sawing can be undertaken using water or oil depending on the properties of the sample. Prior to sectioning, all samples are impregnated with resin in order to obtain optimum sawing quality.


Petrographic studies


In collaboration with industry partners, Thin Section Lab offers a range of supplementary analytical services: X-ray diffraction (XRD) XRD enables the identification of minerals present in a sample and can be used to support a petrographic study. Whole rock and/or clay fractions (< 2 µm) can be analysed on oriented slides (air-dried, heated to 500°C and saturated in ethylene glycol) or in disoriented powders. The results for each sample are presented as an annotated XRD spectrum accompanied by a table detailing the minerals present and their relative abundances. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) SEM analyses are useful, particularly for minerals of small particle size (such as clays or cements), for refining mineralogy and porosity characterizations, and when relevant, identifying opaque mineral phases. Results are presented in the form of annotated photographs. Semi-quantitative compositional analyses can be performed by Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) on request.


Samples Storage


In 2012, Thin Section Lab acquired a sample storage facility located in Toul (Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France). The 900-m2 building will eventually house all of the services that Thin Section Lab offers its clients : sample storage and treatment, sawing and imaging workshops, thin section preparation laboratory and the TSL offices. The building currently offers a 100-m3 volume (1,500 m3 on completion) that is specifically designated for the storage of geological samples. Samples are stored in conditions optimized for preservation, safety, security and confidentiality. All samples are inspected on receipt and logged in our computer database, prior to being packed for storage. All types of geological sample can be stored at the facility, including rocks, drill cores, cuttings and thin sections.


Laboratory installation and training


Thin Section Lab provides turnkey installations of thin section preparation laboratories. All laboratories are designed and installed according to client requirements in partnership with BROT LAB, leading manufacturer of thin-sectioning equipment.
Example installations : Iraq Shell, Mongo University (Chad), N'Djamena University (Chad), Oman Earth Science Department (Oman), IGEM (Russia), Sinopec (China), Sonatrach (Algeria), Sirte Oil (Libya)…
Thin Section Lab also offers training in thin section preparation for clients from the industrial and academic sectors. Training courses are adapted to customer needs and sample characteristics.
Previous training programs : Irak Shell/South Oil Company, Afghanistan Geological Survey, Libyan Industrial Research Centre, Chad Mongo University, French universities in Réunion, Guadeloupe, Besançon, Paris 6, Lille, Strasbourg, Bordeaux…