Microscopy & Microtechniques

Carbon & Sputter coater Incorporated into Mineralogy Laboratory System to Prepare Mineral Samples for Analysis

Jun 23 2017 Comments 0

Quorum Technologies report on how Carl Zeiss Microscopy has incorporated their Q150T coater into their ruggedised analytical solutions supplied to the mining, geosciences and oil & gas sectors.

Zeiss supplies sample preparation equipment and a ‘ruggedised’ SEM. The system, known as MinSCAN, has been designed for this challenging environment, a mine-site mineralogy laboratory on wheels. A powerful data system takes the results to enable an increase in profits through greater concentrate quality and reduced losses to tailings.

Key to reproducible sample preparation is a Quorum Q150T providing high resolution carbon and sputter coating. Each 30 mm standard sample requires reproducible, uniform, thin coatings. Carbon coating is used in perhaps 80% of the applications where mineral particles are being investigated. For oil and gas applications, the ability of having a thin coating becomes most important when making porosity measurements. Uniform thinness will greatly reduce imaging artefacts.

As Shaun Graham, part of the applications development team at Carl Zeiss Microscopy said about the selection of Quorum coaters: “the Q150 series has been chosen based on its proven extremely reliable performance in what is usually a difficult environment far removed from the traditional research bench. The coater has to be available 24/7 as the failure to be able to coat a complete batch of daily samples in a day will risk loss of profit through the lack of actionable data from that days production. This is so important to our users that Zeiss supply, install and train users on all elements of the experimental process.”

Technical Director, Bob Morrison, said: “Quorum has a long established track record as the preferred supplier of coaters for mining applications. Reliability is extremely important in these situations and we have been able to demonstrate the reliability and performance of the Q150T coater in our dealing with partners like Zeiss over a number of years.”

The Q150T is available in three formats: sputtering, carbon evaporation or both. Depending upon the selected configuration, the Q150T can be a top-of-the-range sputter coater for high resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM), a carbon coater suitable for SEM and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), or both - in a single easy-to-use system. Other options include metal evaporation and aperture cleaning.

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