Solutions to large scale problems are often found in the ability to identify very small particles.
These small particles eventually manifest themselves as some sort of contamination which causes some undesirable property in a finished product or manufacturing/industrial process. Often times, these particles are small enough to go unnoticed by the human eye. This is why the ability to characterize these small contaminants is so valuable. Microscopy and micro-analytical techniques can be used to characterize and identify what the material is, help in identifying the source of the unwanted contamination and its elimination. Several of the techniques that allow us to characterize these materials include Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Scanning Electron Microscopy / Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) and micro Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (µFTIR).