Scanning Microscopy


Scanning mechanical microscopy based on the point by point sampling of the target surface was used to characterize volumes of minerals ablated by laser pulses (Nd: YAG, 𝝀 = 1064 nm, 140 μs pulse-width). Differentiated volumes resulting from vaporization and exfoliation mechanisms were selectively measured. Ablated volumes of natural pyrite (cubic FeS2), marcasite (orthorhombic FeS2) and arsenopyrite AsFeS, were transported into an inductively coupled plasma torch for subsequent mass analysis. The log of the S34 Fe57, and As75 mass intensities was linearly correlated with the log of the dimensions of the vaporized crater induced by the laser shots while large particles had no effect on the measured intensities. A memory effect for As was observed when a nylon tube was used to carry the ablated materials into the plasma torch. The memory effect was decreased by using a copper tube resulting probably from a difference in the electrical properties of the tubing systems leading to a lower adsorption of As within the copper tube than for the case of the nylon tube.

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