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13 Feb2019

First Virtual SIMS Laboratory in South Africa

The virtual SIMS laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand provides access to the 1280-HR, housed at the Helmholtz GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ), in Germany via an internet link.

Ion microprobes, also known as secondary ion mass spectrometers, use a finely focused ion beam to sputter the surface of a solid sample. A small percentage of the material liberated from the polished surface of the sample is ionised, and these secondary ions are accelerated into a mass spectrometer where they are separated according to their mass-over-charge ratio. Ion microprobes, such as the Cameca 1280-HR, offer six modes of operation for geoscience applications: 


  • Isotopic analyses
  • Trace element analyses
  • Geochronology
  • Imaging
  • Depth profiling
  • Particle search


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