FAQ

Q: What are your hours?
  • A: 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. If those hours do not work for you let us know what times do and we will try to accommodate your schedule.
Q: What is your standard turn around time (TAT)?
  • A: 5-10 business days. Rush fees exist for jobs needing to be done in less than 5 days. Call first to confirm we can handle your rush request.
Q: Can I come in to see my samples analyzed?
  • A: Yes, our clients are always welcome to come in while their samples are being analyzed. For much of the work we do, it is mutually beneficial for our clients to be present to help direct their project since they can provide expertise about their samples. Some of the services we provide such as FIB or polished cross sections have time consuming steps making it impractical for a client to stay to watch everything. In those cases it is recommended that you come in initially to explain what you need done and come back at a later time to see the finished product.
Q: How do I submit a sample or set of samples?
  • A: Clearly label each sample and seal them in an appropriate container (e.g. zip lock bag, clean glass or plastic jar, etc.). Fill out a Chain of Custody (COC) and provide us with any special instructions needed to complete the analysis including whether you will need a report and when you need your results. Package your samples and COC safely and securely and ship to:
    MicroVision Labs, Inc.
    Sample Receiving
    187 Billerica Road
    Chelmsford, MA 01824
Q: I am a home owner that would like to have my dust analyzed but I am not sure what my options are. Can you explain the difference between your different dust analyses?
  • A: For home owners MicroVision Labs offers those two dust analysis for general testing of dust collected in a residence. They are our Home Dust Analysis and our Advanced Home Dust Analysis. We also have specialized analyses specifically designed for commercial/industrial dust issues as well as soot and fire related dust issues such as our Soot ID and Wildfire analyses.

    Our Home Dust Analysis uses visual estimates to provide a percentage breakdown of the types of materials detected. Biologicals (skin scales, pollen, spores, trichomes, hair, insect parts, starches, plant matter), fibers (cotton, linen, paper, synthetic, glass), opaques (metals, rust, paint), fire debris (charred wood, ash), and mineral matter can all be categorized depending on the size of the given particle. For most dust complaint cases this analysis is more than sufficient to identify the major dust volume contributors or to rule out a potential source.

    Our Advanced Home Dust Analysis adds SEM/EDS to the analysis which allows for better classification of the observed particles by examining the elemental composition (carbon, silicon, iron, etc.) of any particle in question. This usually applies to the minerals, fire debris, and opaque categories where PLM can categorize, but not always specifically identify a particular particle. Additionally, the SEM is beneficial when particles are too small to be classified by PLM.

    Home Dust Analysis is $100 per sample and Advanced Home Dust ID is $200 per sample. Both options include a report and take 5-10 days to complete. If you submit your dust for the standard Home Dust Analysis initially, but decide at any point that you would like to upgrade to the Advanced Dust Analysis, we will only charge you for the difference in costs. If you are concerned about a specific particle type not mentioned here, ask us about it beforehand so that we may tell you if it is something we can identify and which analysis you should use. In some cases it may be helpful it to be able to provide a standard for comparison.
Q: What is the best way to collect and submit a tape-lift off sample?
  • A: The tape lift-off method is an excellent way to collect a dust sample and here is our recommend collection method.
Q: What if I believe my samples are hazardous?
  • A: We are not equipped to handle or dispose of every kind of hazardous material. Please call us before sending in any potentially hazardous samples. In some cases we may be able to analysis your samples but not dispose of it and therefore will have to return it to you and in other cases we may not be able to handle your samples at all.
Q: Do you give tours of your lab?
  • A: Yes, we routinely give lab tours to our clients and potential clients. Please call and we would be happy to schedule a tour for you and your co-workers.
Q: Do you have other locations around the country?
  • A: Although we do work for companies all across the United States, we only have the one laboratory which is located in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Q: Did MicroVision Labs ever operate under a different company name?
  • A: No, we have always been MicroVision Laboratories, Inc. Our founder, John Knowles, used to work for another laboratory that underwent several name changes (Eastern Analytical Laboratories, Industrial Environmental Analysts, American Environmental Network, Severn Trent Laboratories, and EMLab P&K Billeria) and was located nearby in Billerica. When that laboratory was closed in 2008, John hired a few of the remaining analysts and acquired its equipment, client list and phone number.
Q: Have you always been located in Chelmsford, MA?
  • A: No, for the first four years MicroVision Labs operated at 15 A Street, Burlington, MA. In 2007 we moved to our present location in Chelmsford, MA.
Q: What business designation does MicroVision Labs have?
  • A: MicroVision Labs is designated as a veteran owned small business.
Q: How many staff does MicroVision Labs have?
  • A: We have 9 full time employees at this time.
Q: What if I want a service not listed in your service list?
  • A: At MicroVision Labs the list of services which we provide to our clients is constantly growing. So if you don’t see what you are looking for give us a call or use the Contact Us tab. Also don’t forget to check our Additional Services Page to see if it might be listed there.
Q: Can you identify a contamination or unknown for us?
  • A: Yes, we call that an Unknown Material ID and we routinely work on that kind of project. We have developed a number of individual tests designed to classify unknown materials, which combined with our extensive suite of equipment, allows us to perform follow up testing to obtain positive identification of any materials you may encounter. Give us a call and talk to one of our knowledgeable staff for more information.
Q: Do you do any animal testing?
  • A: No.
Q: Do you analyze any tissue samples or blood samples.
  • A: No. We do not do any blood analyses and we are not set up to prepare tissue samples.
Q: What are some of the cool samples you have looked at under the scanning electron microscope?
  • A: 10,000 year old Wholly Mammoth hair, meteorites, artificial heart valve, civil war bullets, insulin pumps, rare colonial coins, a kidney stone and a few things we can’t talk about. But some of the more mundane samples, like wood or salt crystals, have proven to be extremely interesting subjects to image.