Author Topic: Looking for multi-phase mineral specimen with small domains  (Read 155 times)

bamajon1974

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Good afternoon. New user on Probe Software forums. Reasonably experienced SEM/microanalysis user. My expertise lies more in metals, metal alloys, and intermetallics, not geological samples.

I am looking for a mineral specimen with multiple phases where the domain sizes are small (100s of nm to 10s of microns) and more or less homogeneously distributed so most of the phases can be shown in one image at modest magnifications, for training and demonstrating purposes. I have found specimens with multiple sulfide phases (zinc, lead, copper, iron) present but the domains are fairly large (mm size) which makes showing multiple phases in one image difficult, even at base mag. Not just limited to sulfides but any specimens that meet the criteria will work.

Ebay has tons of mineral specimens but it is difficult to know what the sizes of phase regions in the interior by just looking at a few pictures and little knowledge of the sample. I am fine with purchasing samples too. Probably not borrowing as I would like samples to keep.

I have access to a metallography lab with cutting saws, vibratory polishers, and hot expoxy mount techniques as well as carbon coaters and metal evaporators. Prepared thin sections or rocks out of the ground are fine.

In other places, it was also suggested I also prepare my own samples, something I didn't consider. Perhaps homogenizing several metal oxides, pressing into pellets, and them imaging/analyzing. Are there any specific protocols for sample preparation to recommend?

Thanks!

crystalgrower

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Re: Looking for multi-phase mineral specimen with small domains
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2024, 12:00:40 PM »
In general you want to be looking for "sintered" materials whose grain size will be close to your desired range, and SEM images will show empty space around the grains.  CeO2, ThO2, LaB6.

Rare earth silicides which are called RSi2 on the label  are a mix of R3Si5 and Si-rich micron sized areas.

For natural minerals the tugtupite sold on ebay will usually be a mass of micron sized crystals. 

You could also contact Turnstone Geological Services Limited.  Graham Wilson has a collection of very unusual pegmatites and will be the best person to direct you. 


crystalgrower

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Re: Looking for multi-phase mineral specimen with small domains
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2024, 10:22:18 AM »
Other mineral specimens to look for at rock shops or Ebay:

-"-unakite" intergrown epidote and feldspar and quartz, look for finely intergrown green and orange grains

--the Precambrian granite pebbles that are widespread across Eastern North America, sub-mm intergrown grains of quarztite feldspar and biotite.  If you are in the area look for glaciar-polished pebbles in "gravel" at a builders supply.  Or in a streambed or on the beach...

In contrast most calcite-dolomite mixes are too coarse grained.