Thin Section Workshop and Laboratory

The Dept. of Geosciences has a workshop and laboratory for preparation of thin sections of geological materials. With long experience making such for research, teaching and industry we offer high quality preparation of thin sections as required for further microscopy and microanalysis.

A perfect thin section from the workshop. Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen, UiO

A perfect thin section from our workshop. Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen, UiO

Booking and prices

Prices: Contact Facility Manager

Booking: Contact Facility Manager

Contact information:

Facility Manager:Salahalldin Akhavan
Location: Sem Sælands vei 1
0371 OSLO


  • Thorlag grinding and polishing automat
  • Logitech polishing machine
  • Diamond microsaw
  • Buehler phoenix 4000 polishing machine
  • Equipment for impregnation of samples

Description of services:

  • Laboratory preparations of a rock or mineral sample as:
    • Thin section 30 – 35 μm
    • Sections > 35 μm
    • Polished sections

What is a thin section; How do we work?

In optical mineralogy and petrography a laboratory preparation called thin section is used. The thin section is prepared out of a rock, mineral, soil or metal sample. A thin sliver of the rock sample is cut with a diamond saw and mounted on a glass slide and then ground smooth using progressively finer abrasive grit until the sample is only 30 μm thick.

Pictures show some stages in preparation of thin sections in the lab at Department of Geosciences. Photo: Salah Akhavan, UiO
These two pictures show some of the steps in preparation of thin sections at the lab at Dept. of Geosciences. Photo: Salah Akhavan, UiO

The whole process involved with preparation of a thin section requires extreme caution and is time consuming.

A thin section is ready for further investigation in a microscope and when illumination revails specific colours of minerals. This give the viewer more details of the orign and evolution of a rock or the quality of the sample.

Industry using thin sections are for an example the petroleum industry who want to know the grain size and pore space in a sandstone, or the infrastructure or construction industry to investigate the quality of concrete from bridges and tunnels.

The workshop and laboratory can by appointment be used for research activities and/or to assist students at the Department of Geosciences.

About the Thin Section Workshop and Laboratory

A micrograph of a thin section from the Workshop/Lab at Department of Geosciences, UiO.
A micrograph or photomicrograph of a thin section of a mineral. Photo: Salah Akhavan, UiO

Find more information about the laboratory and workshop and what we do in the brochure (in Norwegian and English) linked up below:

From the WS/Lab we have published an online gallery with a collection of stunning micrographs of colourful minerals and rock samples prepared as thin sections.

Visit the online collection and gallery here:

Alle the thin sections in the online gallery are prepared and photographed by Salahalldin Akhavan, Senior Engineer in the Thin Section Workshop and Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo.

Published May 3, 2019 3:56 PM - Last modified June 23, 2022 9:48 AM