Charge contrast imaging (CCI): revealing enhanced diagenetic features of a coquina limestone

James O Buckman, Patrick W M Corbett, Lauren Mitchell

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Charge Contrast Imaging (CCI) is a low-vacuum scanning electron microscope (LV-SEM) technique that can be induced through partial surface charge suppression of uncoated nonconductive samples, imaged with a suitable detector such as a gaseous secondary electron detector (GSED). The technique commonly produces results similar in style to that of SEM-cathodoluminescence (SEM-CL), providing information on zoning, twinning, annealed fractures, and subtle chemical changes. The current work outlines an example from a Brazilian Lower Cretaceous coquina limestone, in which both optical and SEM-CL imaging produces a limited response from much of the sample. Backscattered electron (BSE) imaging typically suggests only a hint of the cement present, whereas CCI clearly displays a rich and varied cement stratigraphy. The earliest cement displays strong CCI, but appears mainly dark under CL imaging conditions (SEM-CL and optical CL). Later-stage manganese- “enriched” carbonate cement displays luminescence with both optical and SEM-CL, as well as a CCI response. Therefore CCI can provide additional information on cement zonation in an area where CL cannot.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-748
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sedimentary Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016


  • Charge Contrast Imaging
  • Cathodoluminescence
  • Carbonate


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