X-ray diffractometer enhances minerals analysis
Scientific equipment supplier AXT has commissioned a 9 kW Rigaku SmartLab X-ray diffractometer (XRD) — the third high-flux XRD to be installed in Australia. The system has been installed at CSIRO’s Waite Campus in Adelaide, where it will aid in mineralogical and geochemical characterisation research.
The versatile XRD system has a range of capabilities that can be increased with a host of attachments, including third-party attachments. These enable a wide range of measurements to be performed under a variety of configurations and non-ambient conditions. They can all be controlled using the company’s user-friendly guidance software, with Rigaku’s attachment being optically encoded so the system automatically checks to ensure they are correctly installed.
CSIRO has optioned this system with an automatic sample changer, which will aid unattended analyses, capillary spinner for analysis of fibres and plate-like crystals as well as transmission stage, SAXS (small-angle X-ray scattering) and USAXS (ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering) for characterisation of clays, colloids and other nanoparticulates. The organisation also has an Anton Paar CHC+ controlled atmosphere chamber for in-situ monitoring of crystallographic changes at temperatures between 5 and 350°C in air or other gases (and up to 400°C under vacuum) and in humid atmospheres between 5 and 95% RH at temperatures from 10 to 60°C, enabling scientists to determine how environmental and processing variables will affect materials.
“Our main area of research is characterising geological and mineral samples, specialising in characterising clays and clay minerals,” said CSIRO Mineralogical and Geochemical Characterisation Team Leader Mark Raven. “The ability to work in SAXS and USAXS modes, as well as controlling temperature and humidity, is crucial for our work, and these were the key features we required.”
The CSIRO team competed in this year’s Reynold’s Cup quantitative mineralogy round robin — a global competition in which laboratories compete to produce the most accurate quantitative results from supplied mixtures of pure standards that represent realistic sedimentary rock compositions. The team finished in second place.
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