Will Nachlas

Position title: Assistant Scientist

Email: nachlas@wisc.edu

302 Weeks Hall
1215 West Dayton Street

Lab Affiliation
Electron Microbeam Research Labs


I am a Scientist and Director of the Electron Microbeam Labs, a multi-user facility that houses EPMA instruments, SEM instruments, and associated laboratory equipment for handling and preparing samples for analysis. My role is to provide expertise and make accessible the instruments to students, postdocs, and faculty researchers in the department of Geoscience, at UW-Madison and other UW System schools, and to various external academic, federal, and private-sector entities. Electron microprobes (EPMA) and electron microscopes (SEM) are highly versatile scientific instruments used for microanalysis, the measurement of micron-scale chemical and structural characteristics of materials. These instruments utilize a beam of electrons focused onto the sample surface to produce secondary electron, X-ray, and photon emissions that are measured and used to reconstruct sample morphology, crystallography, and elemental composition. They are capable of measuring all elements from Be to Pu to approximately 0.01% abundance from sub-micron regions of sample surfaces. These instruments provide fundamental data for many disciplines including geoscience, engineering, chemistry, physics, metallurgy, aerospace, anthropology, forensics, pharmaceuticals, and others. Our department houses the only two EPMA instruments in the state of Wisconsin, and we are one of the longest operating EPMA labs in the world, with continuous EPMA research since 1966. My expertise involves operating electron beam instruments to perform complex measurements of natural and engineered materials. I have been practicing the use of EPMA instruments since 2008 and am particularly experienced in analysis of trace elements, light elements, thin films, and multi-component materials. My research involves broadening access to microanalytical standards and investigating the effects of deformation and recrystallization on mineral chemistry to reconstruct the behavior of tectonic shear zones. I am available to help all researchers with electron beam characterization of their samples; please contact me with any questions.


Google Scholar


  • GEO-777 Electron Beam Microanalysis, offered Spring semesters


  • Thesis committee advisor for MSc and PhD students in Department of Geoscience and Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences
  • Advisor for BSc Senior Thesis projects and Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) program
  • Peer reviewer for: National Science Foundation; American Mineralogist; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology; Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems; Geophysical Research Letters; Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research; Journal of Metamorphic Geology; Journal of Structural Geology; Lithos; Physics and Chemistry of Minerals; Scientific Reports; Solid Earth
  • Professional Society Memberships: American Geophysical Union (AGU) Geological Society of America (GSA) Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) Microanalysis Society (MAS) Microscopy Society of America (MSA) Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society (MMMS) International Union of Microbeam Analysis Societies (IUMAS)


BSc, Virginia Tech, 2006-10
PhD, University of Minnesota, 2010-15
Postdoc, Syracuse University, 2015-19