Dr Karen Privat

Dr Karen Privat


D.Phil. University of Oxford, UK (2005)

M.Sc. University of Sheffield, UK (1999)

B.A. Lawrence University, USA (1997)

Research & Enterprise
Electron Microscope Unit

Major responsibility for managing research and training on the JEOL JXA-8500F Hyperprobe (EPMA), training and support across SEM & EDS platforms, and additional support for various instruments.


Archaeological Science - palaeodietary & palaeoenvironmental reconstruction via stable isotope analysis of floral and faunal remains; chemical analysis of artefacts using microscopy-based techniques (e.g. EPMA).

Additional active collaborations in Geology and Materials Science & Engineering

Public outreach and integration of art & science - participation in Ku-ring-gai Art+Science project and exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum (December 2016-February 2017)

Electron Microscope Unit Chemical Sciences Building (F10), Basement Kensington Campus, UNSW
  • Book Chapters | 2018
    2018, 'Excavation and palaeodietary analysis of Bronze Age human remains from Boyanovo, Yambol province', in Ross S; Sobotkova A; Tzvetkova J; Nekhrizov G; Connor S (ed.), The Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project Surface Survey, Palaeoecology, and Associated Studies in Central and Southeast Bulgaria, 2009-2015 Final Report, Oxbow Books Limited, pp. 182 - 190, https://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/the-tundzha-regional-archaeology-project.html
    Book Chapters | 2008
    Field J; Privat K, 2008, 'Blood residue analysis', in Encyclopedia of Archaeology, pp. 927 - 931, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-012373962-9.00035-2
    Book Chapters | 2005
    2005, 'Fermented dairy product analysis and palaeodietary repercussions : is stable isotope analysis not cheesy enough?', in Mulville J; Outram A (ed.), The zooarchaeology of fats, oils, milk and dairying, Oxbow Books Ltd
    Book Chapters | 2002
    2002, 'Preliminary report of palaeodietary analysis of human and faunal remains from Bolshekaragansky kurgan 25', in Zdanovich D (ed.), Аркаим Некрополь (по материалам кургана 25 больщекараганского могильника)., Iuzhno-Ural’skoe Knizhnoe Izdatel’stvo, Chelyabinsk, pp. 166 - 171
  • Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'Designer Glasses—Future of Photonic Device Platforms', Advanced Functional Materials, 32, pp. 2103103 - 2103103, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202103103
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'Frontier Lapita interaction with resident Papuan populations set the stage for initial peopling of the Pacific', Nature Ecology and Evolution, 6, pp. 802 - 812, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-022-01735-w
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'Gold and aurostibite from the metaturbidite-hosted Au-Zn-Pb-Ag Hera deposit, southern Cobar Basin, central NSW, Australia: Geochemical and textural evidence for gold remobilisation', Mineralogical Magazine, 86, pp. 619 - 633, http://dx.doi.org/10.1180/mgm.2022.46
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'In-situ fines migration and grains redistribution induced by mineral reactions – Implications for clogging during water injection in carbonate aquifers', Journal of Hydrology, 614, pp. 128533 - 128533, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.128533
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'Polymer/Reduced Graphene Oxide/Lignosulfonate Nanocomposite Films as Pseudocapacitor Cathodes', ACS Applied Nano Materials, 5, pp. 3686 - 3700, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsanm.1c04358
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'Thermally stable high numerical aperture integrated waveguides and couplers for the 3 μ m wavelength range', APL Photonics, 7, pp. 126106 - 126106, http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/5.0119961
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'Unveiling microscopic carrier loss mechanisms in 12% efficient Cu2ZnSnSe4 solar cells', Nature Energy, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-01078-7
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'Characterization of Waste-Integrated Multi-hybrid Structure for Enhancing Corrosion Resistance of High-Carbon Steel', Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, 7, pp. 166 - 177, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40831-020-00330-2
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'High performing designer glass platform to host versatile photonic devices', APL Materials, 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/5.0063788
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'Raman spectroscopic and elemental analysis of bone from a prehistoric ancestor: Mrs Ples from the Sterkfontein cave', Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 52, pp. 2272 - 2281, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jrs.6226
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'Rapid transformation of the metal-polymer laminated packaging materials into ceramic carbide reinforced Al-alloy', Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 167, pp. 105374 - 105374, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105374
    Journal articles | 2020
    2020, 'Behaviour of Sulphide and Non-alumina-Based Oxide Inclusions in Ca-Treated High-Carbon Steel', Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science, 51, pp. 1384 - 1394, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11663-020-01872-2
    Journal articles | 2020
    2020, 'Mineral distribution and provenance of heavy mineral sands (zircon, ilmenite, rutile) deposits from the NW Murray Basin, far western NSW, Australia', Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 67, pp. 575 - 590, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08120099.2020.1703813
    Journal articles | 2020
    2020, 'Record-high positive refractive index change in bismuth germanate crystals through ultrafast laser enhanced polarizability', Scientific Reports, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72234-w
    Journal articles | 2020
    2020, 'Revisiting ultrafast laser inscribed waveguide formation in commercial alkali-free borosilicate glasses', Optics Express, 28, pp. 10153 - 10164, http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.387790
    Journal articles | 2020
    2020, 'Smallest Late Pleistocene inhabited island in Australasia reveals the impact of post-glacial sea-level rise on human behaviour from 17,000 years ago', Quaternary Science Reviews, 245, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106522
    Journal articles | 2019
    2019, 'Effect of selective-precipitations process on the corrosion resistance and hardness of dual-phase high-carbon steel', Scientific Reports, 9, pp. 15631, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52228-z
    Journal articles | 2019
    2019, 'From Waste to Multi-Hybrid Layering of High Carbon Steel to Improve Corrosion Resistance: An In-Depth Analysis Using EPMA and AFM Techniques', Surfaces, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/surfaces2030036
    Journal articles | 2019
    2019, 'Innovative Surface Engineering of High-Carbon Steel through Formation of Ceramic Surface and Diffused Subsurface Hybrid Layering', ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 7, pp. 9228 - 9236, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b00051
    Journal articles | 2018
    Alzahid YA; Mostaghimi P; Gerami A; Singh A; Privat K; Amirian T; Armstrong RT, 2018, 'Functionalisation of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)- Microfluidic Devices coated with Rock Minerals', Scientific Reports, 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33495-8
    Journal articles | 2018
    Hanks B; Miller AV; Judd M; Epimakhov A; Razhev D; Privat K, 2018, 'Bronze Age diet and economy: New stable isotope data from the Central Eurasian steppes (2100-1700 BC)', Journal of Archaeological Science, 97, pp. 14 - 25, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.06.006
    Journal articles | 2018
    Kumar A; Joseph S; Tsechansky L; Privat K; Schreiter IJ; Schüth C; Graber ER, 2018, 'Biochar aging in contaminated soil promotes Zn immobilization due to changes in biochar surface structural and chemical properties', Science of the Total Environment, 626, pp. 953 - 961, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.157
    Journal articles | 2018
    2018, 'Engulfment Behavior of Inclusions in High-Carbon Steel: Theoretical and Experimental Investigation', Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, 49, pp. 2986 - 2997, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11663-018-1394-5
    Journal articles | 2018
    2018, 'Ore and Gangue Minerals of the Hera Au-Pb-Zn-Ag Deposit, Cobar Basin, NSW', ASEG Extended Abstracts, 2018, pp. 1 - 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/aseg2018abm1_3d
    Journal articles | 2017
    Lay A; Graham I; Cohen D; Privat K; González-Jiménez JM; Belousova E; Barnes SJ, 2017, 'Ophiolitic chromitites of Timor Leste: Their composition, platinum group element geochemistry, mineralogy, and evolution', Canadian Mineralogist, 55, pp. 875 - 908, http://dx.doi.org/10.3749/canmin.1500032
    Journal articles | 2017
    VanValkenburgh P; Kelloway SJ; Privat KL; Sillar B; Quilter J, 2017, 'Rethinking cultural hybridity and technology transfer: SEM microstructural analysis of lead glazed ceramics from early colonial Peru', Journal of Archaeological Science, 82, pp. 17 - 30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.04.007
    Journal articles | 2017
    2017, 'Reconstructing atmospheric circulation over southern New Zealand: Establishment of modern westerly airflow 5500 years ago and implications for Southern Hemisphere Holocene climate change', Quaternary Science Reviews, 159, pp. 77 - 87, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.12.017
    Journal articles | 2016
    Pahlevani F; Kumar R; Gorjizadeh N; Hossain R; Cholake ST; Privat K; Sahajwalla V, 2016, 'Enhancing steel properties through in situ formation of ultrahard ceramic surface', Scientific Reports, 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep38740
    Journal articles | 2016
    Reade WJ; Privat KL, 2016, 'Chemical characterisation of archaeological glasses from the hellenistic site of jebel khalid, Syria by electron probe microanalysis', Heritage Science, 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40494-016-0084-3
    Journal articles | 2014
    Ventresca Miller A; Usmanova E; Logvin V; Kalieva S; Shevnina I; Logvin A; Kolbina A; Suslov A; Privat K; Haas K; Rosenmeier M, 2014, 'Subsistence and social change in central Eurasia: Stable isotope analysis of populations spanning the Bronze Age transition', Journal of Archaeological Science, 42, pp. 525 - 538, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2013.11.012
    Journal articles | 2014
    2014, 'The Ojolali region, Sumatra, Indonesia: Epithermal gold-silver mineralisation within the Sunda Arc', Gondwana Research, 26, pp. 218 - 240, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2013.08.013
    Journal articles | 2013
    Patel S; Guenther T; Dodds CW D; Kolke S; Privat KL; Matteucci PB; Suaning GJ, 2013, 'Materials design considerations involved in the fabrication of implantable bionics by metallization of ceramic substrates', Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, 2013, pp. 759 - 762, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2013.6609611
    Journal articles | 2011
    2011, 'Technology and Trade at Ancient Gordion: Insights from Microanalysis of First Millennium BCE Glass', Microscopy and Microanalysis, 17, pp. 1780 - 1781, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1431927611009779
    Journal articles | 2010
    2010, 'The three dimensional structure of Mg-rich plates in as-cast Mg-based bulk metallic glass composites', Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A Journal, 41A, pp. 1691 - 1698, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11661-009-9989-8
    Journal articles | 2008
    Fraser RA; Grün R; Privat K; Gagan MK, 2008, 'Stable-isotope microprofiling of wombat tooth enamel records seasonal changes in vegetation and environmental conditions in eastern Australia', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 269, pp. 66 - 77, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.08.004
    Journal articles | 2008
    Trueman CN; Palmer MR; Field J; Privat K; Ludgate N; Chavagnac V; Eberth DA; Cifelli R; Rogers RR, 2008, 'Comparing rates of recrystallisation and the potential for preservation of biomolecules from the distribution of trace elements in fossil bones', Comptes Rendus - Palevol, 7, pp. 145 - 158, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crpv.2008.02.006
    Journal articles | 2008
    2008, 'Why do crystallinity values fail to predict the extent of diagenetic alteration of bone mineral?', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 266, pp. 160 - 167, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.03.038
    Journal articles | 2007
    Privat KL; O'Connell TC; Hedges RE M, 2007, 'The distinction between freshwater- and terrestrial-based diets: methodological concerns and archaeological applications of sulphur stable isotope analysis', Journal of Archaeological Science, 34, pp. 1197 - 1204, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2006.10.008
    Journal articles | 2005
    Privat K; Schneeweiß J; Benecke N; Vasil'ev SK; O'Connell T; Hedges R; Craig O, 2005, 'Economy and diet at the late bronze age-iron age site of Čiča: Artefactual, archaeozoological and biochemical analyses', Eurasia Antiqua, 11, pp. 419 - 447
    Journal articles | 2002
    Privat KL; O'connell TC; Richards MP, 2002, 'Stable isotope analysis of human and faunal remains from the Anglo-Saxon Cemetery and Berinsfield, Oxfordshire: Dietary and social implications', Journal of Archaeological Science, 29, pp. 779 - 790, http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.2001.0785
  • Preprints | 2022
    2022, Unveiling microscopic carrier loss mechanisms in 12% efficient Cu2ZnSnSe4 solar cells, , http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-1274090/v1
    Conference Papers | 2021
    2021, 'Hera: Evidence for Multiple Mineralization Events and Remobilization in a Sediment-Hosted Au-Pb-Zn-Ag Deposit, Central New South Wales, Australia', in The 2nd International Electronic Conference on Mineral Science, MDPI, pp. 28 - 28, presented at IECMS 2021, 01 March 2021 - 15 March 2021, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/iecms2021-09345
    Conference Papers | 2021
    2021, 'The Ore and Gangue Mineralogy of the Newly Discovered Federation Massive Sulfide Deposit, Central New South Wales, Australia', in The 2nd International Electronic Conference on Mineral Science, MDPI, pp. 29 - 29, presented at IECMS 2021, 01 March 2021 - 15 March 2021, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/iecms2021-09348
    Conference Papers | 2014
    Privat K; Reade W; Duncan Jones J, 2014, 'Analysis of molded and coreformed glass from 1st millennium BC gordion, anatolia', in Microscopy and Microanalysis, pp. 2016 - 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1431927614011817
    Conference Papers | 2013
    Patel S; Guenther T; Dodds CW D; Kolke S; Privat KL; Matteucci PB; Suaning GJ, 2013, 'Materials design considerations involved in the fabrication of implantable bionics by metallization of ceramic substrates', in Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS, IEEE, Osaka, Japan, pp. 759 - 762, presented at Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), Osaka, Japan, 03 July 2013 - 07 July 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2013.6609611

Infrastructure Grants:

  • 2019 UNSW RIS Scheme: "High Resolution High Sensitivity Cathodoluminescence System"


Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre Staff Grants:

  • 2019: "Investigation of Mummy Textiles via Variable-Pressure SEM and SEM-EDS" (with colleagues at the Nicholson Museum & Sydney Analytical, University of Sydney)
  • 2018: "Three-dimensional Rendering of SEM Images for Data Visualisation and Outreach"
  • 2016: "The Effects of Weathering on Obsidian Artefacts for Portable XRF Analysis" (with Sarah Kelloway, SSEAU)
  • 2014: "A SEM Microstructural Investigation of Peruvian Early Green Glazed Ware: Exploring Potting Practices in Early 16th Century Peru" (with Sarah Kelloway, SSEAU)
  • 2013: "The Analysis of Gordion Glasses by LA-ICP-MS" (with Helen Rutlidge, SSEAU; and Wendy Reade, University of Sydney)
  • 2011: "Preparation and Three-Dimensional Chemical and Crystallographic Characterisation of Complex Samples by Electron Probe Microanalysis and Electron Backscatter Diffraction" (with Md Zakaria Quadir of EMU)

Archaeological Science:

  • EPMA analysis of glass vessels to investigate raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and trade/exchange mechanisms
  • SEM (& EDS) examination of ceramic vessel body and glaze morphology and composition to examine firing methodology, raw material sourcing and manufacturing logistics
  • Palaeodietary and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction via light stable isotope analysis of faunal and floral remains



  • Reconstruction of formation processes and investigation of economic viability of deposits via EPMA analysis (collaborations with Graham group, UNSW School of BEES)


Materials Science & Engineering:

  • Development and characterisation of new industrial materials using waste streams as source components (collaborations with UNSW SMaRT Centre)
  • Mentor, SEM-EDS trainer and collaborator with students from Bassman group (Harvey Mudd College, USA) via US National Science Foundation IRES grant scheme

Collaboration with Bonita Ely (UNSW Art & Design) for Ku-ring-gai pH Art+Science project, 2016: "Sight - Cite - Site"

https://youtu.be/f31l1XrPun0 (from 14:30)




My Teaching

Within UNSW MWAC, Electron Microscope Unit:

  • One-on-one teaching - SEM, EDS & EPMA
  • Development & delivery of teaching materials (presentations, workshops, instrument user guides)


Current or past involvement (lecturing and/or tutorials) in UNSW courses:

  • BIOS3721: Hunters & Gatherers
  • HIST2668
  • ARTS1180: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ARTS2180: Archaeology- Theories, Methods, and Practices
  • CHEM6041: Advanced Instrumental Analysis