Supermini aboard Chikyu ocean-drilling vessel

Fast analysis was needed on-board lab for ocean-drilling samples
“Time-dependent change is an issue for most samples obtained by ocean drilling,” says Takamitsu Sugihara of The Center of Deep Earth Exploration (CDEX), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), “so that we need to install the analytical instruments on board to measure the sample in the field.”

Deep Sea Drilling Vessel CHIKYU

Takamitsu Sugihara, Ph.D.
Center for Deep Earth Exploration (CDEX)
IODP Promotion Group

Supermini installed in the Chikyu lab in March 2008.

The lab manager of Chikyu, the agency’s ocean-drilling vessel, continues, “Chemical analysis of solid samples takes largest time and effort among other tasks. We wanted an XRF system because the technique provides a quick analysis for multiple elements.”

Why did Chikyu choose Supermini?
“Higher accuracy for the quantitative analyses on light elements has long been wanted in the ocean-drilling studies. A key requirement for this is the ability to quantify the light elements such as Si, Al, Mg, and Na in the matrices.“

“I like Supermini for its high sensitivity to the light elements as well as its high resolution that is not achievable by an EDXRF system. And all these are available with its bench-top packaging thanks to its high-powered generator and the WDXRF configuration.”

“Its short measurement time was also an advantage. During our test, it took an EDXRF system more than an hour to perform an analysis that took no more than 10 minutes with the Supermini.” 

Small footprint and 100V operation
“The size and the power-supply requirements often make an issue for an on-board lab. The small-sized and 100V-operatable Supermini is well suited for this purpose. Rigaku also supplied a special compact bench to fix the equipment. This also accommodates the vacuum pump and other components, and is very convenient.”

Future possibilities
“While it takes time and effort, it has been difficult to achieve a high quantitative precision in chemical analyses on solid samples. I expect the glass-bead method makes the measurements faster and more efficient. In fact, many scientists in the world need to perform high-throughput XRF measurements on a vessel. We believe compact, bench-top XRF spectrometer can answer these needs.”