Molecular & Nano Archaeology Lab

The Molecular and Nano Archaeology (MNA) Laboratory is one of the main laboratories of the Center for Materials Research in Art and Archaeology (CMRAA) at UCLA. This laboratory 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. The laboratory collaborates actively with other science facilities nationally and internationally. Research through the molecular and nano archaeology laboratory and the Archaeomaterials Group focuses on the identification of manufacturing processes, morphology, structure and properties of archaeological, cultural and artistic materials; the study of ancient and artistic 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.


13 January 2012: SEM Best Image MNA Award” & “FEI Tony Award 

Nov 8–12: MNA, FEI & Thermo Fisher Scientific OPEN HOUSE 
SEM Best Image MNA Award” & “FEI Tony Award 

Co –Directors of the MNA Laboratory: 
Prof. Ioanna Kakoulli (MSE & Cotsen Institute of Archaeology)
Dr. Sergey Prikhodko (MSE)
Dr. Christian Fischer (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology)

Address: Engineering-V Building,  Room 1230, UCLA
Phone: (310) 794-4915
Fax: 310-206-4723