Electron microprobe analysis is a nondestructive method for determining the chemical composition of individual mineral and material grains. An electron microprobe uses a high-energy focussed beam of electrons to generate X-rays characteristic of the elements within a sample from volumes as small as 5 micrometers in diameter.
Electron microprobe analyses are conducted at Mintek utilising a Cameca SX-50. Analyses on the Cameca SX-50 are performed utilising a combination of energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) and wavelength dispersive spectrometry (WDS). The electron microprobe is equipped with four wavelength spectrometers capable of analyzing elements from Boron to Uranium. The availability of an extensive collection of calibration and reference standards allows for the analysis of a wide variety of materials. Past projects include analysis of furnace slag and matte products, kimberlitic indicator minerals, commercial ceramic products etc.