\'Atomic Paring Knife\' Will Help Probe Ancient Civilizations Mississippi State researchers are acquiring a high-tech laser instrument described as an “atomic paring knife” that will be used, among other things, to probe the mysteries of ancient civilizations. Hailed as the first such unit of its type in the Southeastern United States, the university’s Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer will provide organizations across Mississippi—academic, non-profit and industrial—with unique capabilities for quantitative surface analysis and depth profiling. “The instrument can be used to map surfaces—find defects or specific surface features,” said DIAL director John Plodinec. “One also can do depth profiling—using the laser system as an atomic paring knife, peeling away layer after layer of material.” Rest of story --This should pave the way to assisting the archeologist in the field in finding the age of findings. Hopefully it will work out and become a standard peice of equipment in an archeologist kit.