Relevance of qualitative trace element distribution maps at answering geoscientific questions

Relevance of qualitative trace element distribution maps at answering geoscientific questions

Renno, A. D.; Buchriegler, J.; Hanf, D.; Klingner, N.; Munnik, F.; Nowak, S. H.; Scharf, O.; von Borany, J.; Ziegenrücker, R.

In recent years significant efforts have been made to combine Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) techniques with the advantages of the Color X-ray Camera [1] to produce full-field PIXE images of trace element distributions in geological samples [2]. Decisive progress was made by the implementation of several image enhancement techniques [3, 4]. The ultimate objective is the installation of an analytical instrument running in routine operation. The major advantage of this new approach is the ability to gather elemental distribution maps over a large field of view (some cm²) with reasonable spatial resolution (< 100 µm) in real-time. Setting a matrix-dependent threshold value for a certain trace element concentration will allow us to reduce the measurement time compared to beam scanning based methods. This is an enormous advantage for resource technological application.
The present status of the installation at HZDR Ion Beam Center does not enable us to obtain quantitative information about trace element concentration in the single pixels of the resulting elemental distribution maps. The information content of qualitative and quantitative distribution maps is different. But it is a myth that only quantitative information is suitable of gathering information about rocks, ores and minerals. Using selected examples from petrology, economic geology and resource technology we will demonstrate the different types of qualitative information and its interpretation.
[1] O. Scharf, et al., Analytical Chemistry 83 (7) (2011) 2532–2538.
[2] D. Hanf, et al., NIM B 377, pp. 17-24 (2016).
[3] J. Buchriegler, et al. submitted (2017).
[4] S. Nowak, et al., arXiv:1705.08939, (2017).
This work has been supported by BMBF (INTRA r3 033R070) and by the EU project SPRITE (GA-No. 317 169).

Keywords: PIXE; Qualitative Analysis; Trace element analysis; element distribution map

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