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.

Sample in zero-background holder

MiniFlexNew sixth generation MiniFlex X-ray diffractometer (XRD) is a multipurpose analytical instrument that can determine: phase identification and quantification, percent (%) crystallinity, crystallite size and strain, lattice parameter refinement, Rietveld refinement, and molecular structure. It is widely used in research, especially in material science and chemistry, as well as in industry for research and quality control. It is the newest addition to MiniFlex series of benchtop X-ray diffraction analyzers from Rigaku, which began with the introduction of the original MiniFlex system decades ago. Read more about Rigaku's MiniFlex...

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