Friday, April 9, 2010

First Contact with the Electron Microprobe

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Today was my long awaited first appointment with the electron microprobe. Already a month ago I had arranged this session to exemplify on three selected samples the distribution and source of arsenic and other important elements. It was a good but exhausting day spent in the lab together with the research assistant of the mineralogy department who is in charge of the EMP. We confirmed my hypothesis as to the source of arsenic with some pretty clear readings dispite working on grain sizes at the lower limit of the possible with our device. The smallest measured grain has a diameter of perhaps 3 to 5 microns. We also discovered an accesory mineral in the limestone samples that has not yet been previously described to be present in them. It is not necessarily something one might expect in a limestone. I prefer however to not yet reveal it, both because I work on an industry project and because it might be worth, together with a few other facts, to be published after my thesis is completed and graded. We also managed to shoot a hole straight through one of the not yet further identified mica chips. Fun with an electron beam that was not planed. From now on I really love that machine. If it wouldn't cost a fortune and if it wouldn't be almost the size of my room at home I would love to have my own. Below is a picture of the room and machine in action.

 
Microprobe and computer hardware at the FU Berlin.

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