Geology / Mineralogy

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Micro-XRF is ideally suited for the analysis of inorganic species, and offers excellent sensitivity to trace elements (for example, concentrations less than 100ppm can be detected, depending on the element and sample matrix). Point analysis allows fast identification of mineral species, even when analysing individual grains from crushed rock, or microscopic features in a section. XRF mapping results in detailed element images which highlight the distribution of mineral phases, illustrating the general rock structure, and even allowing detailed analysis of ion migration at phase boundaries. Additional information on the rock’s internal structure can be obtained from transmitted X-ray images.

Unlike SEM/EDX techniques which are sometimes used for these types of analysis, XRF elemental analysis with the XGT-7200 offers a number of benefits:

  • Ease of use: begin a measurement within seconds of instrument start up

  • No sample preparation: highly polished samples are not required, and even rough samples can be analysed with excellent results.

  • Large samples handled with ease: the spacious sample chamber allows samples as large as 35cm x 40cm to be analysed, with element mapping over areas up to 10cm x 10cm.

Key areas which benefit from micro-XRF include:

  • Mineral identification
  • Phase boundaries
  • Meteorites
  • Marine/lake sediment cores
  • Mining test cores
  • Individual particles
  • Mining exploration
  • Rock structure
  • Gemstones

Examples

XRF mapping of a meteorite section highlights its heterogeneous mineral structure.

XRF spectra acquired using a 10 µm X-ray beam for typical mineral species: ilmenite, orthopyroxene and magnetite.