IOS acquired a scanning electron microscope

By Réjean Girard, July 11th 2014

QEMSCAN, MLA, SEM, Geometallurgy! New and trendy buzzwords? No, a new set of essential tools in mineral exploration and we are determined to be the leaders in the field.

In order to maintain its leadership in mineralogy and petrography, last fall IOS has acquired the latest generation Zeiss EVO-MA15-HD scanning electron microscope (SEM). This unit is at the cutting edge of technology and has been especially equipped to optimise its versatility in an applied mineralogy context: large sample chamber, variable pressure mode, energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer with silicon drift detector (EDS-SDD, Oxford Instruments X-Max 150), two secondary electron detectors, backscattered electron detector, post-processing computer and a wide range of automation and data processing software. This SEM embodies in one unit the abilities of a high-definition electron microscope, a QEMSCAN, an electron microprobe and an MLA.

Applications? Extensive and varied: from geometallurgy to environmental characterisation via the study of heavy minerals and materials science. It can image on a nanometer scale, make quantitative chemical microanalyses of all types of dry samples (mineral grains, thin sections, drill core, soils, etc.), map chemical composition from beryllium to uranium, identify and classify mineral phases, characterise textures, etc. it’s use is only limited by our imagination and God knows, we have plenty!

Obligingly, we put it to work. Less than three months after its installation, we carried out our first geometallurgy mandate: characterising the distribution of chlorine in apatite concentrates! Followed by the description of the textures of detrital gold grains from James Bay, heavy indicator minerals from British Columbia and Ungava, the identification of sulphosalts in reflected light, etc. However, commercial applications are only 50% its use, the remainder is taken up by our research and technological development team, internally or in collaboration with several universities. We will reveal these secrets soon when these new applications will become available!

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