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Identifying very small amounts of (geo)material


Dr. Joel Sparks, Laboratory Manager, Department of Earth Sciences at Boston University reports:

One area in which the Rigaku MiniFlex seems to be a hit is identifying very small amounts of (geo)material. When I put together the initial MiniFlex order I must have really guessed right when ordering the zero-background holder. It's really been the most scientifically useful holder so far.

Here's the latest and most demanding application: I was given two vials of "yellow" and "white" grains to identify, total amount somewhere around a half to two grains of table salt (probably < 1 mg — the samples are from Antarctica and we can't easily get more). I ran the *gently* crushed powders on a zero bg holder that has a 4 mm diam x 100 μ deep depression in the middle of a round holder. As you can see from the photos I didn't even have enough to fill the depression. The resulting diffractograms were easy to sort out (both were halite - common salt)! Amazing.

Powder Sample in zero-background holder
Sample in zero-background holder