Electron microprobe


........ On the search for new minerals

The electron microprobe is an analytical instrument by which it is possible in most solids such as minerals, rocks as well as metals, ceramics and glasses practically nondestructive perform chemical analyzes.

For this purpose, a high-energy electron beam is fired at the sample under vacuum. This excites the sample at a point on a bunch of very weak X-rays of different wavelengths. The individual wavelengths typical of the respective elements constituting the sample at this point. The intensity of X-rays is a measure of the concentration of the corresponding element. By an ingenious arrangement of mechanical and electronic devices, it is possible to dissolve the entire X-ray beam corresponding to the wavelengths and to measure the intensity.

In this manner not only individual points can be examined by solid bodies, but all the surfaces and ultimately whole body will be using additional scanning devices described in all dimensions.Due to the possibility to investigate the most solid nondestructive results in an enormously wide range of application possibilities, the sufficient of geosciences over the Materialfoschung and wide areas of engineering to medicine and biology. As an example, this method allows to determine, inter alia, the conditions of formation of minerals and rocks, or even to discover new minerals that remained undetected without these refined methods.

Of course, there are also practical applications, such as the investigation of sedimentary rocks on its pore size and thus their ability to act as a carrier oil. A further example would be the determination of the silver content of the Austrian gold coins spread over the centuries as an expression of economic conditions.

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