In an era when more and more of our society is driven by uniformity, standard methods, and the goal to make everything conform to a standard, Microtrace was founded upon the principle that some analytical questions are unique and require a more fundamental scientific approach. While this sample driven approach requires more time, thought, and a well equipped laboratory, it generally leads to solutions in cases where no standardized method is applicable or such a method fails to yield an answer at all.
We understand the need for such standardized methods under well constrained circumstances; in fact, we sit on numerous committees, in various disciplines, whose sole task is to write such methods or review their application. So while our own work often leads towards the development of new standard methods, our approach and strongest interest lies in solving new problems that are outside the scope of such standards. So while we operate under methods and written procedures that meet or exceed the most rigorous standards available (as applicable to a given problem), our fundamental approach for a given sample retains the flexibility to apply a thoughtful, scientifically directed analysis that balances the rigor of academic, peer reviewed science with a practical, solution driven analysis approach that provide our clients with timely facts and conclusions based on and supported by data.
This approach is rare because it requires an unusual combination of a broad (and in many cases specific) knowledge base in fundamental science, materials, and analytical science, the technical skills to apply this theoretical knowledge in a practical timely manner laboratory, and the communicative skills to translate this information into a form that is scientifically rigorous yet understandable to a lay audience or jury. At Microtrace, our laboratory achieves this balance through a broad range academic training (including microscopy, chemistry, biology, zoology, geology, forensic science, materials science, and nuclear engineering), experience, mentorship, active research, curated reference collections, and a genuine enjoyment of solving problems through science.