The Molecular and Nano Archaeology (MNA) Laboratory at UCLA brings archaeological and cultural materials’ research to a whole new level. Its activities focus on the application of state-of-the art techniques and methods for the study of materials at the molecular and nano length scale and at trace elements and isotopic level. The innovation of this approach is based on the analytical protocol developed using primarily non-destructive techniques (where the samples are not consumed by the analysis and can be re-used) allowing the analysis of specimens (both organic and inorganic) without altering their original morphology and structure.
The laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art field emission gun variable pressure scanning electron microscope (FEGVPSEM) coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) purchased primarily with financial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Award Number: 0813649 and Raman microspectroscopy purchased with support from the UCLA Shared Resources Consortium (SRC). The laboratory operates as a shared resource (SR). facilitating and promoting the advancement of research at UCLA and the extended Los Angeles area. It further collaborates with other science facilities nationally and internationally.
Research of the Archaeomaterials Group conducted through the Molecular and Nano Archaeology Lab focuses on the identification of manufacturing processes, morphology, structure and properties of material culture (archaeological, ethnographic and modern art); the study of ancient technologies; provenance studies and authentication; organic trace analysis; taphonomic change and weathering processes and the reconstruction of paleodiet and paleoenvironment. The techniques and protocols used by this laboratory find extensive use in archaeology, anthropology, earth and space science, art conservation science, materials science and engineering, biological sciences, forensic sciences and medicine.
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SEM Best Image MNA Award” & “FEI Tony Award