User research facilities around the world offer tremendous opportunities for scientific experimentation by members of the Earth science community. Synchrotron radiation sources, neutron sources, mass spectrometers, and others represent a powerful force in tackling complex scientific problems. In these techniques, Earth materials are bombarded with beams of ions, subatomic particles and/or photons to learn the secrets of their properties and histories. Some of these methods can be applied to nanoscale materials with “desktop” instruments while others require macroscopic samples and utilize large-scale devices residing in multiple buildings; and there is everything in between.

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