Handheld LIBS Academic Loaner: Conflict Minerals

Diggity Academic, Geochemistry, LIBS

SciAps Z-300 will measure every element in the periodic table—yes, even hydrogen!

We frequently loan handheld LIBS units for a few weeks or a month to academic researchers from the U.S. and Canada, so that they can perform a study or field analysis anywhere in the world. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy is often a preferred technique, especially for students, since operators do not have to deal with the regulatory complexities of X-ray fluorescence analyzers. And our accompanying Profile Builder software provides operators complete freedom to modify laser and spectrometer parameters and generate their own calibrations. You’re not limited to factory-imposed calibrations or unchangeable multi-variant techniques.

Here’s a story from Dr. Nancy McMillan at New Mexico State University with conflict minerals:

By day, Nancy McMillan is Geological Sciences department head and professor of igneous petrology and geochemistry. But a recent Thursday evening in November found her using the SciAps Z in her community, teaching a group of middle and high school students how to identify conflict minerals for the Museum of Nature and Science in Las Cruces.

At the free Teen Science Café event, the students participated in building a library of spectra from five minerals: tourmaline, ruby, tanzanite, peridot, and topaz.

The library consisted of photos of 3-4 spectra of each mineral—very rudimentary but functional. Then the teens took turns analyzing seven “unknown” gems and compared their spectra to the library to identify each stone.

They had two ringers in there—a citrine, which wasn’t in the library, allowing them to talk about how important building the library is, and a sapphire, which classified as ruby. This let them talk about how both ruby and sapphire are corundum.

At the end, they analyzed a box full of minerals that needed to be identified at the museum. The teens used the ElementPro App to confirm the presence of the important elements.

Have an academic application?

Contact us (academic@sciaps.com) with a brief description of what you want to measure. As your work progresses, we’d appreciate continued updates. Don’t worry, we understand that you can’t compromise a future publication. We’ll get you the analyzer, train you at a regularly scheduled time (often via GoTo Meeting or Skype but in-person works too). The goal is to raise awareness of the amazing world of applications available to handheld LIBS.

Please note at this time we must limit the loaner program to researchers working at U.S. and Canadian institutions. However, researchers from these countries may travel globally with the analyzer.

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